New Member FAQ - December 2016

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New Member FAQ - December 2016

Postby Irishhunter » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:19 pm


http://WWW.RIFOL.ORG RIFOL’s CCW Forum RIFOL’s CCW Info Page

A lot of people have contributed time, effort, and knowledge to the information on this website over the years, and while there are a couple of other FAQ’s in other places, (including links to some right there on the Home Page), it seems a lot of the same questions get asked often here in the New Member forum. I felt it would be helpful to have a summary of the current state of affairs in Rhode Island as of December, 2016. For town-specific questions, please proceed directly to the area of the forum dedicated to such things, appropriately enough titled - City/Town policies regarding the application process of Pistol Permits.

Without Further Ado…

Frequently Asked Questions About RI and Firearms, Concealed Carry, etc.

First things first...

1. RI does NOT recognize any other state's permit to carry a concealed weapon.

2. You must be 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun; 21 to purchase a handgun.

3. Firearms do not have to be registered in RI, and in fact, the creation of any such registry is prohibited.

4. Ammunition can be purchased over the Internet.

5. In order to purchase a handgun in RI, civilians generally must take and pass a handgun safety test (provided by the Department of Environmental Management - DEM). This test can be taken at most every commercial firearm retailer location in the state. After taking the test and passing, the results are mailed to the DEM, and within about 2 weeks, the applicant will receive a state-issued handgun safety card, commonly known as a Blue Card. There are some exceptions to the Blue Card requirement, as seen in § 11-47-35 Sale of concealable weapons – Safety courses and tests – Review board – Issuance of permits to certain government officers. For example: "Proof of passage of the department of environmental management's basic hunter safety course will be equivalent to the pistol/revolver safety certificate mandated by this section." You may find some resistance to this particular piece of information, as it is not well known. Additionally, active duty members of the Military (including the Coast Guard), Reserves, and the RI National Guard are exempt from the handgun safety card requirement.

6. Once you have this Blue Card or the described equivalent, you may purchase your firearm, fill out your FFL paperwork, and then commence the appropriate wait before you can collect your new weapon, presuming you pass the background checks.

7. A 7 day waiting period applies, except as follows – “The provisions of this section shall not apply to full-time members of the state police, full-time members of city or town police departments, persons licensed under §§ 11-47-9 and 11-47-11, or to sales of air rifles or " BB guns" or to sales of antique firearms as defined in § 11-47-2.” Another way of looking at this is to say that if you possess a town or city issued Concealed Weapon Permit, you are not subject to the 7 day wait; if you have a permit issued by the Attorney General, you will have to wait the full 7+ days.

8. Aside from your photo ID and either your Blue Card, your Hunter’s Education Card, your Military ID, or your Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon, you do not require any other special forms or documentation to purchase a gun in RI. An exception to this rule is something called a C&R FFL 03, also known as a Curio and Relic Federal Firearms License. One useful source of information about the C&R FFL 03 is located here. Curio's and Relics, their definitions, and how to go about applying for a license and collecting these weapons, are also described by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The application for the C&R FFL 03 can be found here. The C&R license allows an individual to directly purchase and sell firearms that have been designated collectible by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE).

BATFE describes the license in this way: "This license will entitle you to acquire firearms, classified as curios or relics, in interstate or foreign commerce. You may dispose of curios and relics to any person, not otherwise prohibited by the Gun Control Act of 1968, residing within your state, and to any other Federal Firearms Licensee in any state. It must be emphasized that the collector's license being applied for pertains exclusively to firearms classified as curios and relics, and its purpose is to facilitate a personal collection. You may NOT engage in the business of buying and selling curios and relics under this license.” In other words, it allows you to build your own, personal collection - not your own business.

9. There are a number of benefits to having a C&R FFL 03. Aside from the obvious value to a collector of firearms, this license provides clear documentation as to why an applicant may need a permit to carry a concealed weapon. After all, few would question the wisdom of being armed while travelling with large amounts of cash to private residences to purchase firearms from individuals or estates.

10. There are no magazine restrictions in RI, and there is no Assault Weapon Ban style law or restriction. It is useful, however, to know the restrictions in the surrounding states. There are a number of exceptions and special circumstances in each of the 3 surrounding states; in general, however; Connecticut limits magazines to 10 rounds; New York limits magazines to 10 rounds, but incredibly, you are not supposed to put more than 7 rounds of ammunition into any magazine in the Empire State. Massachusetts limits magazines to 10 rounds (unless it is demonstrably “Pre-Ban”, or made before 1994); Massachusetts allows non-residents to apply for a permit to bring a handgun into the state. There are a number of levels of restrictions – some permits may be restricted to transportation and use at a range or competition, while others allow you to carry unrestricted. Non-Residents may not purchase ammunition in Massachusetts, regardless of the level of their permit, possession of a Firearm Identification Card (FID), in-state hunting license, whatever. If you're going there to hunt or shoot competition outside of a dedicated range, you will want to bring your own ammo.

11. On the other hand, you cannot have a suppressor (silencer) or a short barreled rifle (SBR) in RI, even if you already owned one before you moved here.

12. As long as you are not a prohibited person, you may generally carry an unloaded handgun in your vehicle to your place of business, a shooting range, a gun dealer, a gunsmith, a gun show, or to your residence without a permit (§ 11-47-10 License or permit not required to carry to target range). Ammunition should not be readily accessible from the same container as the firearm. There are a number of other circumstances and designated people who may transport or carry a firearm absent a permit, who are also exempt from restrictions (§ 11-47-9 Persons exempt from restrictions).

13. It is against the law for the names of concealed permit holders to be released to the public or media (§ 11-47-11-b).

Obtaining a permit to carry a concealed handgun:

There are 2 tracks by which a concealed weapons permit can be obtained in RI. In each track, the applicant will be required to complete an application; submit to a background check, including fingerprinting; and demonstrate proficiency with the largest caliber weapon they will carry. This means if you test with a 9mm, and for some reason you come to the attention of law enforcement while carrying a Desert Eagle in .50 Cal, you're going to have a problem. Most people recommend testing with a .45 ACP, which covers the vast majority of personal defense and concealed carry handgun calibers. The proficiency test is administered by an NRA instructor, and consists of shooting 30 rounds over no more than 30 minutes at a standard Army L target at 75 feet and scoring at least 195 out of 300.

A) The first track we will discuss is the permit issued by the Office of the Attorney General, under Title 11-47-18 (§ 11-47-18 License or permit issued by attorney general on showing of need).

This statute is the one for a permit that is MAY issue. This permit is generally viewed as being dependent on the applicant demonstrating a NEED. If your need meets the standard of the person making the decision on that particular day, they MAY decide to issue you a permit. This is the single most important thing to understand if you choose to apply under this statute - the decision is subjective, and no matter how persuasive you may feel your argument might be, it is quite possible that you will be denied. The Application and Renewal form are the same, and can be found here.

B) The second track to be discussed is the permit that is issued by the local Law Enforcement Agencies (aka Police Chiefs), under Title 11-47-11 (§ 11-47-11 License or permit to carry concealed pistol or revolver).

This statute is for a permit issued by your local law enforcement agency or town licensing body. This permit is SHALL issue, provided you meet the following criteria:

• You are 21 or over;
• You are a resident of the town in which you are applying;
• You have either a good reason to fear an injury to your person or property, OR you have any other proper reason for carrying a pistol or revolver;
• And you are a suitable person to be so licensed. (Suitability was touched on in the RI Supreme Court case of Norman T. Gadomski, Jr. v. Joseph H. Tavares, Chief of Police for the City of East Providence (RI Supreme Court, 2015) - See Page 6.)

As you can see, the criteria for this statute is a bit more concrete. For quite a few years, there has been a great deal of resistance on the part of many of the police departments in RI to issuing permits. After all, once these criteria were met, the department was required to issue, although there was some discretionary wiggle room as regards to suitability. As a result, a number of additional application components were added; a psychiatric evaluation; notarized letters of recommendation; medical releases for a number of hospitals; etc. Some towns simply copied the Attorney Generals application, while others simply ignored applications, or stated they didn't issue, and referred all applicants to the state. Over the past decade, a number of important legal decisions have chipped away at these obstacles. As of the fall of 2016, all of the towns in RI are accepting applications, and most have issued at least one permit in the previous 5 years. This is not to say that there isn't work to be done still - some towns still demand excessive fees, while many others require far more documentation and personal, privileged information than they are supposed to ask for.

Title 11-47-11 also provides language for out of state residents to apply for a non-resident permit. It is unclear how often this happens.

One concern sometimes raised by local law enforcement is their fear of issuing and then becoming subsequently responsible and liable for that decision should the permit holder do some heinous act. This arguments is countered easily enough. First, there’s a lot of data out there about the the percentages of change when permits start getting issued in a state. For example, from the Washington Times in July of 2015 “Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, and murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to just 4.2, about a 25 percent drop, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.” This isn’t the point, however. At the bottom of the first paragraph of Title 11-47-11, everyone involved in doing there job in giving a permit is immune from liability!

“Any member of the licensing authority, its agents, servants, and employees shall be immune from suit in any action, civil or criminal, based upon any official act or decision, performed or made in good faith in issuing a license or permit under this chapter.”

Applicable legal decisions include:
Mosby vs. Devine (RI Supreme Court, 2001)
Archer vs. MacGarry (RI Superior Court, 2002)
Gillette vs. Esserman (RI Superior Court, 2009)

Jarren Gendreau v. Josue D. Canario in His Official Capacity as Chief of Police, Bristol Police Department (RI Supreme Court, 2013)

Norman T. Gadomski, Jr. v. Joseph H. Tavares, Chief of Police for the City of East Providence (RI Supreme Court, 2015)

The Gadomski ruling may eventually be viewed as having some of the most significant impacts on this issue. It addresses the inappropriate conglomeration of 11-47-11 and 11-47-18 used by many police chiefs in their creation of their town applications; it refutes the use of the need based standard in applications under this statute; it makes it clear that simply saying no without adequate justification is unacceptable; and it also makes a reference to a 90 day timeframe as being an adequate period in which to process an application.

"Suitability" is an example of the vocabulary of this issue that is sometimes debated. In general, if you meet the standards of an FFL Form 4473, most Pro 2nd Amendment supporters would say you are suitable. Examples of the questions include convictions of felonies, or other crimes where a sentence of a year or more could have been handed down; dishonorable discharge from the military; addiction to controlled substances or alcohol; or having been committed to a mental institution or judged to be mentally defective by a court. In general, if you have ever arrested, or been in court for anything more serious than a traffic infraction, you should be prepared to document the circumstances and outcome, even if no charges were filed or you were vindicated/found not guilty. Any felony conviction, or misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, will result in you not being allowed to buy a gun at all, let alone carry one concealed. Under no circumstances should you ever lie, or omit something; if the application asks if you were arrested, say so, even though it was a mistake, and no charges were ever filed. Better to be truthful about such things up front and address the issue, than to be accused of lying on the application and denied.

Substance Use

One interesting piece of information that is going to become an increasing source of confusion, and a potential reason to deny an individual’s right to own or carry a weapon, is the issue of medical and recreational marijuana. There are some different positions on this issue at the state level, but it hasn’t really become too much of a problem at this point, even though an intruder who was breaking into a medical marijuana dispensary was shot and killed by the owner within the past decade. That event was ruled justifiable. At the Federal level, however, it’s anybody’s guess. In 2011, BATFE provided guidance to FFL holder’s on the prohibition of firearms and ammunition sales to users of medical and recreational marijuana, including those in states where it has been legalized. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that banning firearms to people who hold medical marijuana cards is not illegal. Finally, in January of 2017, a newly updated Form 4473 will be issued, in which purchasers will be reminded more explicitly that the use of marijuana remains illegal under Federal law, regardless of the legalization or decriminalization status of the State the purchaser resides in. In other words, if you use marijuana, and check “No” to question 11e, you have committed a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, not to mention fines. It’s my understanding that this hasn't really been aggressively prosecuted during the past 8 years. The next administration may choose to direct the Justice Department to proceed differently. The bottom line here is that it's far from settled.

Random other bits of trivia and other information…

State Preemption - § 11-47-58 Firearms - “The control of firearms, ammunition, or their component parts regarding their ownership, possession, transportation, carrying, transfer, sale, purchase, purchase delay, licensing, registration, and taxation shall rest solely with the state, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”

Other types of weapons (§ 11-47-42 Weapons other than firearms prohibited)

You may not carry a concealed knife on your person with a blade longer than 3 inches; double edged blades such as daggers or stilettos are not permitted to be carried concealed, nor may you carry saps or brass knuckles (other examples of prohibited weapons include blackjacks, slingshots, billy-clubs, sand-clubs, sandbags, slap gloves, bludgeons, or the so called "Kung-Fu" weapons.

Pepper spray is allowed; Stun guns are not – While a recent Supreme Court decision in a Massachusetts case (Caetano v. Massachussetts) found a woman not guilty of possessing a Stun gun, the law prohibiting use of stun guns still stands in Mass, as it does in RI. Indeed, a Michigan stun gun ban had been struck down in People v. Yanna (Mich. Ct. App. 2012), and a Connecticut ban on, among other things, police batons was struck down in State v. DeCiccio (Conn. 2014), giving some hope for the use of these alternative less lethal self-defense devices.

Reserved Space for future material - Work in Progress
PS - I spent a lot of time making this look pretty in Word, with Hyperlinks, etc. They al vanished. So, I've attached the original...Enjoy!


Please consider making a donation to RIFOL.ORG. Many of us got the information we needed to apply for our permits from this website and forum, and it costs money to keep it up and running. You can donate here!

Thank you for Reading!

PPS - I almost forgot. First, this NOT in any way to be used as Gospel or some form Legal Reference. I tried to point towards the appropriate legal cases, again ... I'm no lawyer. For lawyer things, you should of course see a lawyer.

Finally, a GREAT BIG THANKS to NewportRI, one our most prolific, knowledgeable, and helpful guys around. This wouldn't have been possible without his help. Last but not least - if there are changes you feel should be made, feel free to let me know, and I'll try to get them done.
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Re: New Member FAQ - December 2016

Postby cookiecutter » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:28 am

Wow! This is a great read. I was wondering how I never saw this when I was first looking for info ... then I noticed that it is a brand new post.

Thanks so much for compiling all this info in one place and especially for citing the sources of the information. Great job!

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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:00 am

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