Skip to Main Content
Last updated .

Rhode Island law prohibits:

  • Knowingly purchasing or otherwise obtaining a firearm on behalf of another person whom the transferor knows or reasonably should know is prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law.1
  • Giving false information or offering false evidence of identity in purchasing or otherwise securing delivery of a firearm or in applying for a license or permit to carry a firearm.2
  • Any person from selling a handgun to someone who he or she has reasonable cause to believe is providing false information of this kind.3
  • Selling a firearm without conducting a background check on the purchaser.4
  • Any person from changing, altering, removing, or obliterating the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s number, or if there is no name of the maker, model, or manufacturer’s number then any other mark of identification on any firearm.5
  • Any person, absent recertification paperwork, from knowingly receiving, transporting, or possessing any firearm which has had the name of the maker or manufacturer’s serial number removed, altered, or obliterated, or if there is no name of the maker, model, or manufacturer’s number than any other mark of identification on any firearm.6

Rhode Island’s prohibition on theft of a firearm7 also provides for more significant penalties if a person subsequently sells, lends, or transfers a stolen firearm.8


Our experts can speak to the full spectrum of gun violence prevention issues. Have a question? Email us at

  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-23(b). This restriction on certain straw purchases became effective upon enactment of 2021 RI HB 5386/RI SB 416 on July 12, 2021.[]
  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-23(a).[]
  3. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-37.[]
  4. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 11-47-35, 11-47-35.1, and 11-47-35.2.[]
  5. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-24(a).[]
  6. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-24(b).[]
  7. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-5.1(a).[]
  8. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-5.1(b).[]