Lock Up Your Guns In Rhode Island - It's The Law

Zac K
by Zac K

Firearms owners in Rhode Island need to know that the state's government has just passed new laws about gun storage. The TL/DR is: If you're not using 'em, lock 'em up.

Here's the longer version. Two new statutes passed on June 6,2024: 2024-H 7373A and 2024-S 2202aa. These legal updates say that all firearms in Rhode Island must "be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device properly engaged in order to render the firearm inoperable" when they are not being used.

Gun storage @ TFB:

State politicos compared the new regulations to a "seat belt law for responsible gun ownership."

Rhode Island's laws apply whether or not the firearm is loaded. [Ruger]

Here are the penalties for the new storage laws, as per the state's PR:

“Under the legislation, unsafe storage of a firearm would be a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $250 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second. Any subsequent violation would be punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $500.”

Current Rhode Island law also has a $1,000 fine on the books for gun owners who leave a firearm where a child can access it, but only if that firearm is loaded and the child causes an injury with the firearm. Going forward, the new laws apply whether or not the firearm is loaded, and gun owners will be also be punished if adults who are prohibited from owning firearms access guns and cause injury.

Here's what Rhode Island new regulations spell out for consequences, if a child or prohibited adult gets hold of a firearm and causes injury:

“Violators would be charged with second-degree criminal firearm storage if such a person were able to gain access to the improperly stored weapon, and face up to a year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. If the child or prohibited person were to cause injury with the firearm, the person responsible for the improper storage of the gun could face a first-degree charge, with up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.”

For more details on the updated laws, see Rhode Island's government release here.

Zac K
Zac K

Professional hoser with fudd-ish leanings.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Evan Evan on Jun 18, 2024

    As far as I'm concerned, my bedside carbine and the EDC pistol on the nightstand are always "in use", the same way as the smoke alarm is "in use".

    Just because I may not be actively handling my defensive guns does not mean I'm not using them. They are tools to be kept ready in case of an emergency, and in sitting there, loaded and unlocked, I am using them for that intended purpose.

    Still, good thing I live in a (more or less) normal state where I don't have to worry about nonsensical storage laws.

  • MediumSizeTex MediumSizeTex on Jun 18, 2024

    Any parent or roommate who's ever noticed that their liquor seems to be slowly getting weaker and weaker already knows that you do not have locks in your house that a teenager can't easily get through.