Legal Information: Rhode Island

State Gun Laws

May 26, 2017

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Rhode Island state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • has been convicted of a "crime of violence" in Rhode Island or elsewhere.* "Crimes of violence" include any of the following crimes or an attempt to commit any of them:
    • murder;
    • manslaughter;
    • rape;
    • first or second degree sexual assault; 
    • first or second degree child molestation;
    • kidnapping; 
    • first or second degree arson; 
    • mayhem; 
    • robbery; 
    • burglary;
    • breaking and entering; 
    • any felony violation involving the illegal manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance; possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance; or conspiracy to commit manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance; 
    • assault with a dangerous weapon; 
    • assault or battery involving grave bodily injury;
    • assault with intent to commit any offense punishable as a felony;
    • conviction of a domestic violence offense punishable as a felony;*1 however, in this case, s/he cannot have a gun for a period of two years after the domestic violence conviction;*2   
  • was convicted of or pled no contest ("nolo contendere") to any felony crime against a family or household member that is listed here; (Note: In this case, the judge will issue an order demanding that s/he surrender all firearms within 24 hours to a law-enforcement agency or to a federally-licensed firearms dealer and file proof of such surrender within 48 hours);*3
  • is in "community confinement" or otherwise subject to electronic surveillance or monitoring devices as a condition of parole;*4 or
  • is a fugitive from justice.*

Federal laws, which apply to all states, also restrict a person's right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes.  Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

* RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(a)

*1 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-2(2)

*2 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(b)

*3 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5.3(a)(1),(3)

*4 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(c)