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Legal Information: Rhode Island

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of November 30, 2023

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 firearm if s/he has been convicted of or has pled “no contest” to certain crimes. Firearm possession if prohibited if the abuser:

  • 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
  • was convicted of –or pled “no contest” (“nolo contendere”) to– in Rhode Island or elsewhere:
  • is a fugitive from justice;3
  • is in “community confinement” or otherwise subject to electronic surveillance or monitoring devices as a condition of parole.4

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if s/he has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 RI Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a); 11-47-2(5)
2 RI Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-5(a); 12-29-5; 12-29-2
3 ​RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(a)
4 RI Gen. Laws § 11-47-5(c)