Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated May 4, 2012
In our publication Gun Laws Matter 2012: Understanding the Link Between Weak Laws and Gun Violence, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 29 different firearms-related policy areas. Rhode Island ranked 9th out of 50 – having enacted some of the relatively strongest gun violence prevention laws. Among other things, Rhode Island:
- Requires a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers;
- Requires firearms dealers to obtain a license, and handgun purchasers to first obtain a safety certificate;
- Requires a seven-day waiting period on all firearm purchases;
- Requires firearm owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms; and
- Provides the local licensing authority with discretion to deny a concealed handgun license.
Rhode Island does not, however:
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Require firearm owners to register their firearms;
- Regulate unsafe handguns; or
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms.
In 2009, Rhode Island had the sixth lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. 56 people died from firearm-related injuries in Rhode Island in that year. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009, Rhode Island supplied the seventh lowest number of crime guns to other states per capita. Rhode Island exports crime guns at less than half the national average.
Rhode Island Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Rhode Island, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.