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Possessing or Carrying a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Possessing or carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle in Rhode Island

One of the most common firearm offenses under Rhode Island criminal law is Possession or Carrying a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle.

In Rhode Island, a person does not need a license or permit to carry or transport a pistol or revolver from their home or business to a bona fide target practice range and back, nor to engage in any shoot meet, or practice.  However, the pistol or revolver must be broken down, unloaded, secured in a locked contained, not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle, and separated from any ammunition.  

The safest method is to transport the unloaded, broken down firearm in the trunk with ammunition in the passenger compartment, preferably in a locked glovebox or other locked or secured container.  This rule may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-10.

If the firearm is in a vehicle and not being transported for the purposes of target shooting or to and from one’s home and/or business, a License to Carry is required unless an exemption applies.  

The law contains a laundry list of exemptions from needing a license or permit and who may carry concealed firearms within the state.   For more information on these exemptions, see Rhode Island General Laws, Sections 11-47-9 and 11-47-9.1.

It is otherwise, unlawful for a person to possess or carry upon them, whether concealed or visible, in a vehicle, a loaded rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, or any other firearm or weapon in their vehicle. I f charged and convicted of this offense, a person may face not less than 1 year nor more than 10 years in prison.  This penalty may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-8 and 11-47-51.

Rhode Island criminal law also calls for severe punishment of a person who is convicted of Discharging a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle or otherwise committing a “Drive-by Shooting.” If any person discharges a firearm from their motor vehicle in any manner which creates a substantial risk of death or serious personal injury to another, and is convicted, a punishment of not less than 10 years nor more than 20 years in prison will be imposed.  These penalties may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-47-51.1 and 11-47-61.

If you have been charged with possessing a firearm in a motor vehicle and need representation, contact the Rhode Island Gun Defense Lawyers of the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.

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RI Criminal Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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