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Rhode Island generally prohibits any person from possessing a firearm on school grounds.1 (Legislation enacted in 2021 extended this restriction to concealed handgun license holders, effective July 12, 2021).2 “School grounds” include any property of a public or private elementary or secondary school, or in those portions of any building, stadium, or other structure on school grounds while they are being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school in Rhode Island, or while riding school-provided transportation.3, although the 2021 law provides an exception to authorize people to possess unloaded firearms on school grounds if the firearm is kept in a locked container or a locked rack that is in a motor vehicle.4

If a student possesses a firearm on school premises, including premises used for school activities, a vehicle used for school transportation, or onto a roadway or path along which school children or teachers are walking to school, he or she shall be suspended from school for one year.5 Students are also subject to such suspension if they aim a firearm or realistic firearm replica at school premises, school vehicles, or students, staff or visitors attending school or in transit to or from school.

The term of suspension may be shortened by the superintendent of schools on a case-by-case basis and under guidelines to be developed by the school committee with broad parent, teacher, and community involvement.6


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  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(a)(1).[]
  2. See 2021 RI HB 5555; R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(b). Before passage of this legislation, many schools had already adopted policies that banned firearm possession on campus by anyone other than law enforcement or school security guards. A 2018 directive from the Board of Education extended these restrictions to all schools in order to create a more consistent state policy regarding firearms. Commissioner Ken Wagner, “Firearms in Schools,” August 29, 2018,[]
  3. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(a)(2).[]
  4. 2021 RI HB 5555; R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-60(d).[]
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-18.[]
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-18.[]