Rhode Island Gun Laws

Rhode Island Gun Laws

Rhode Island, a northeastern state, has stringent laws when it comes to obtaining a concealed carry permit. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of Rhode Island’s concealed carry laws, including permit issuance, carry regulations, reciprocity agreements, and more.

State Population and License Statistics

Rhode Island boasts a population of approximately 1 million residents. Despite its relatively small size, the state has issued around 2,000 concealed carry licenses. These licenses hold validity for a period of 4 years, constituting about 0.2% of the state’s population.

Constitutional Carry and Permit Issuance

Contrary to the constitutional carry status, Rhode Island is not recognized as a constitutional carry state. Obtaining a concealed carry permit in Rhode Island involves a “May Issue” process, with the Attorney General or local authorities overseeing the permit issuance. While technical differences exist between the AG’s stance and local law, court cases in the future are likely to clarify this matter.

To secure a concealed carry permit, individuals must provide reasons justifying the need for the permit and how it will address specific concerns. Moreover, applicants must be at least 21 years old and present 3 notarized references to gain approval.

Open Carry and Vehicle Regulations

Rhode Island allows open carry for individuals possessing a Rhode Island License to Carry a Concealed Weapon (LCCW). Even those without a permit can open carry, but exclusively on their personal property, such as their house, business premises, or owned land.

Regarding concealed carry in a vehicle, the state permits individuals with a valid out-of-state CCW permit to carry a concealed firearm. However, individuals must not intend to remain on the island while carrying the firearm. For those without a permit, the firearm should be unloaded and secured in a locked container inaccessible to passengers.

See also  Rhode Island Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW)

Carry in Various Locations

  • State Parks: Concealed carry is prohibited within Rhode Island’s state parks.
  • Restaurants and Bars: Concealed carry is allowed in restaurants and bars for individuals with a Rhode Island LCCW, provided they are not intoxicated.
  • No Weapon Sign Enforcement: No specific code enforces the prohibition of weapons signs, based on our research.
  • Officer Notification: No laws mandate informing law enforcement officers about carrying a firearm during interactions.
Rhode Island Gun Laws

Reciprocity Agreements

Rhode Island’s concealed carry reciprocity extends to a limited number of states. The following states honor Rhode Island’s CCW permits:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

However, it’s important to note that Rhode Island has restricted reciprocity with some of these states.

Non-Reciprocating States

Rhode Island’s CCW permits are not recognized in the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

Concealed Carry Regulations

Rhode Island enforces specific regulations regarding concealed carry:

  • Open Carry: A permit/license is required for open carry. While there is some confusion about local authority permits, open carry on one’s property is generally allowed.
  • Vehicle Carry: A valid permit/license is necessary for carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle. Some exceptions apply, such as transporting handguns for merchandise, moving residences, or target practice.
  • State Parks: Concealed carry is prohibited in state parks, state forests, and WMAs. Roadside rest areas are an exception.
  • Restaurants: Concealed carry is permitted in restaurants that serve alcohol, provided the individual possesses a Rhode Island LCCW and remains sober.
See also  Rhode Island Gun PermitRhode Island Gun PermitRhode Island Gun Permit


In summary, Rhode Island maintains strict regulations surrounding concealed carry permits. While not a constitutional carry state, Rhode Island permits open carry under certain conditions. Reciprocity agreements with other states are subject to restrictions, and concealed carry is prohibited in certain locations. Understanding these nuances is crucial for individuals seeking to exercise their concealed carry rights within Rhode Island.


Q1. Can I open carry without a permit in Rhode Island?

No, a permit is required for open carry, even though there are some exceptions on personal property.

Q2. Are Rhode Island CCW permits recognized in all states?

No, Rhode Island’s CCW permits have limited reciprocity with specific states.

Q3. Is carrying a firearm allowed in state parks?

No, concealed carry is prohibited in Rhode Island’s state parks.

Q4. Are Rhode Island gun laws strict?

Yes, Rhode Island gun laws are generally considered quite strict compared to most other states. Rhode Island restricts the types of guns legal to purchase, imposes waiting periods before delivery, requires registration, has robust background checks, prohibits open carry, makes concealed carry permits difficult to obtain, and tightens many other aspects related to sales, ownership, use, and transport of guns.

Q5. Can I carry a loaded handgun in my vehicle without a permit?

Some conditions apply. If you are a resident and meet certain criteria, you can transport unloaded handguns in your vehicle without a permit.

Q6. Is Rhode Island a constitutional carry state?

No, Rhode Island does not have constitutional carry; a permit is required for concealed carry.

Q7. Can you own a gun in Rhode Island?

See also  Rhode Island Hunting

Owning a gun in Rhode Island is legal, but comes with more regulations, permitting requirements, and restrictions than most other states. Only certain types of shotguns and rifles that meet strict guidelines are lawful to purchase and own.

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