Disclaimer: It is our goal to keep the information on this page, and this website, as up to date as possible. With that said, it is ultimately your responsibility to verify the handgun law in your states of interest. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. The information presented on this page and on this website is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. This content is subject to change without notice. We recommend subscribing to be notified when the content on this page and on this site changes.
Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must reside in Rhode Island
- Valid for 4 years
- Costs 5 Year License: $40 (+$Cost to qualify in a live fire exercise)
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must be a U.S Citizen
- Must be employed in Rhode Island, or have a concealed carry permit issued in your state of residence
- Valid for 4 years
- Costs $40 (+$Cost to qualify in a live fire exercise)
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
It Depends – With a permit issued by the Attorney General, you may open carry or carry concealed with your carry permit. However, if your permit was issued by your local police/sheriff’s office, you may only carry concealed, as the permit allows carry of a ‘concealed firearm’.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Rhode Island is a dual may/shall issue state.
If applying through the Attorney General, the state is a may issue, meaning the law states that they may issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
If applying through your local police department, the department is a shall issue, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
Residents and Non-Residents – Applying Through the Attorney General
*Note: This method is recommended as the Attorney General’s office is may issue, while local police departments are shall issue.
Any resident or non-resident may apply for a concealed carry permit through the Attorney General’s office. The paperwork required is the same as when applying locally. See the Residents – Applying Locally section below for a step by step guide on what you need to do – however, rather than contacting your local department for certain clarifications, you may also contact the Attorney General’s office.
If applying as a non-resident that isn’t employed in RI, you must apply through the Attorney General’s office. To qualify for a non-resident permit if you aren’t employed in RI, you’ll need to be 21 and have a concealed carry license issued in your state of residence.
Read this for more information on applying for a concealed carry permit through the Attorney General’s office.
Attorney General’s Office
150 South Main Street
Providence, Rhode Island
Residents – Applying Locally
To get a RI concealed carry permit as a RI resident, you can apply at the police/sheriff’s office in your town of residence.
- Contact the police department in your town of residence for an application. Ask what documentation is required to apply for a concealed carry permit, as this seems to vary by town.
- Note: It doesn’t currently appear that you need to take a firearms training course to apply. You should confirm this with your town’s police department.
- Note: Ask if the department can provide fingerprinting services.
- You must qualify in a handgun live fire exercise in front of a certified weapons instructor. Generally, instructors certified by law enforcement agencies or the National Rifle Association are accepted.
- Note: Check with your local police department before making arrangements to ensure the instructor and his/her certification is approved.
- Make a copy of your RI state issued I.D. or driver’s license, and a copy of another form of identification. Get these copies must be notarized.
- Have 3 references write letters on your behalf. The letters should attest to your good moral character, and explain why you qualify for a concealed carry permit. The letters must be signed and dated by the references. The letters must also be notarized.
- Note: Again confirm with your local police department the exact requirements as to how many references are required. In most counties, 3 are required.
- Type a letter stating why you need a concealed carry permit. Without a valid reason, a concealed carry permit will not be issued. Make sure to sign and date the letter.
- Go to your local police department, or another law enforcement agency to get a complete set of fingerprints taken on a FBI Fingerprint Applicant Card. Make sure to sign the card.
- Complete the application and bring the following items to the police department in your town of residence to complete the process:
- Your typed letter stating why you need a concealed carry permit.
- 3 typed, notarized reference letters.
- Some sort of evidence that proves you qualified in a handgun live fire exercise.
- A copy of your certified weapons instructor’s certification.
- Notarized copies of your RI state issued I.D. or driver’s license, and another form of identification.
- Your completed fingerprint card.
- 2 color (1 inch x 1 inch) photographs taken of yourself in the last 30 days. Do not wear glasses in the photos. Write your name on the back of each photo.
- Application fee: A check or money order for $40. The police department will instruct you who to make the check payable to.
- Anything else required by your town’s police department as discovered in step 1.
After these steps are completed, the department processing the application has 90 days or less to inform you of a decision. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
Non-Resident Employed In RI – Applying Locally
To get a RI concealed carry permit as a non-resident, you can apply at the police/sheriff’s office in your town of employment. The application process should be the same as above.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
Your application is almost guaranteed to be denied if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- School grounds. However, this only applies to students.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- State parks.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout RI
With a RI Concealed Carry Permit
If you have a RI concealed carry permit, you may transport a loaded handgun (concealed or open) on your person in a vehicle.
With a Concealed Carry Permit From Another State
If you have a concealed carry permit issued from another state, you may transport a loaded handgun (concealed or open) on your person in a vehicle. However, you must be merely transporting the firearm through the state in a vehicle and not have any intent to remain within the state of Rhode Island.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you don’t have any concealed carry permit, you must abide by the following when transporting a handgun into and throughout the state:
- You must legally possess the firearm.
- The firearm must be unloaded and secured.
- The firearm cannot be readily accessible.
- The firearm must be stored in your trunk, or in a closed container or case.
Additional Notes About RI Handgun Law
Does RI Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does RI Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does RI Recognize?
None. RI doesn’t recognize any other states’ concealed carry permits.
Reciprocity – Where is the RI Permit Recognized?
The RI concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:
- October 23, 2017 – Corrected misinformation – AG permits are may issue, local permits are shall issue.
- December 2, 2017 – State Parks added to Location Restrictions for Carrying section.
- March 4, 2018 – Clarification added on open carry, as its legality varies based on which office issued the concealed carry permit.