Illegal Gun Possession in Rhode Island

illegal gun possession

The state of Rhode Island has very strict gun laws. It’s important to follow the laws because the state has serious penalties if you don’t. Illegal gun possession can turn your life into a nightmare. With this knowledge, you probably want to know what constitutes illegal gun possession in Rhode Island and what the penalties are. Along with the law on state to state gun sales. Knowing the answers to these questions will keep you safe and potentially out of jail. We’ll break down the answers to all these questions below.

What Constitutes an Illegal Gun Possession in Rhode Island?

There are a few different types of illegal gun possession in Rhode Island. According to the NRA, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to own a gun without the written consent of a parent. A person must get a concealed weapons permit to carry in Rhode Island. You must apply at the city clerk’s office for a license. You can’t have a loaded handgun in your vehicle without a permit. A person can’t carry a gun with a permit from another state unless they are transporting the gun without the intention to stay.

It’s illegal to possess a gun if you’re under the influence of alcohol at all, so don’t drink while carrying a gun. If you register anything over at 0.0 blood alcohol level, you’re in violation of the law. Along those same lines, it’s illegal to possess a gun if you’re under the influence of drugs.

It’s considered illegal gun possession for anyone that’s been convicted of a violent crime to have a gun. Any person that’s a fugitive from justice can’t possess a gun. Anyone that resides in the country illegally may not own a gun. It’s illegal for any person who’s considered mentally incompetent including those in treatment and guardianship to own a gun. Anyone who receives treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can’t possess a gun for at least five years after treatment.

Any possession of a machine gun will count as illegal firearm possession as the state has banned them. Along with antiques and replicas that are still in use.

Silencers of all type and armor-piercing bullets are illegal as well.

What Are the Penalties for Illegal Gun Possession?

Rhode Island instituted stiff penalties for illegal gun possession. You could get charged with a felony. The charge could bring a fine of $10,000 and 1 to 10 years in prison for a pistol, revolver or another type of handgun. You could face 1 to 10 years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for possession of a sawed-off shotgun or rifle. Bringing a gun into a school carries a mandatory fine of at least $500 even if the gun isn’t loaded.

Having a stolen gun carries a sentence of 3 to 15 years in jail. Possession of a silencer carries a sentence of at least a year in jail. Possession of armor-piercing bullets carries a sentence of up to 3 years in jail and a potential fine of up to $5,000. If you end up convicted of a felony, you lose the right to own a gun. The penalties become incredibly stiff if you have a gun while committing a crime.

On top of whatever penalties you’re facing for the initial crime 1 to 10 years in prison and fines, up to $10,000 come with the possession of a gun while committing a crime. If you have a gun while delivering or selling drugs, you’re facing an additional 2 to 20 years. Committing a violent crime with a stolen gun adds 5 to 15 years for the first offense, 15 to 20 years for the second offense, and at least 20 years for the third offense.

What Is the Law on State to State Gun Sales?

Rhode Island has very specific laws for state to state gun sales. A person can buy a gun from any state in the country as long as they ship it to a licensed gun dealer in Rhode Island. The gun dealer will go through a background check on the buyer before they can pick up the gun. Direct private gun sales are illegal in Rhode Island, so you must go through a licensed dealer. That’s because Rhode Island requires background checks for all gun sales.


Illegal gun possession is a serious crime in Rhode Island. A conviction on a gun charge could mean years in jail along with a hefty fine. If you get charged with illegal gun possession, it’s important to hire a lawyer that knows how to deal with these kinds of cases. A skilled weapons lawyer knows what type of defense to go with so the best chance to lighten your sentence or get you off completely. To learn more about weapon charges, illegal gun possession and weapons lawyers check the weapon offenses page.