Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Rhode Island License to Carry Concealed Weapons (LCCW) below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed handgun permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry Permit Basics

Rhode Island is a shall-issue state by state law, but the attorney general “may issue” licenses as well. Shall-issue means licensing authorities are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law. Licenses to carry concealed weapons are issued at the local level by the police chief or by the attorney general.

Open carry is only legal in Rhode Island with a Rhode Island LCCW issued by the attorney general. LCCWs issued by local authorities are for concealed carry only. Concealed carry is also legal only with a Rhode Island LCCW. However, applicants can obtain a concealed handgun license by applying either to local licensing authorities or to the attorney general. The processes for each are similar. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and are required to explain why they need a firearm and how it will remedy their problem and must provide three notarized references.

In order to purchase a handgun, a buyer must have a Rhode Island License to Carry Concealed Weapons (LCCW) or obtain a “blue card” from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. A background check is required to buy a handgun from a private individual. The background check is obtained through the state police or local chief of police. Firearms registration is not required in Rhode Island.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed handgun permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the License Requirements in Rhode Island?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a residence or place of business within the town in which the application is submitted, or have a residence within the United States and a CCW permit/license issued by the authorities of any other state or subdivision of the United States
  • The attorney general can also issue licenses to non-residents without concealed carry permits from their home state
  • Provide proof of qualification before a certified weapons instructor within one year of application
  • Have a good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or have any other proper reason to be licensed
  • Be a suitable person to be so licensed
  • Not be prohibited from having a firearm by any state or federal law or court order
  • Meet federal law requirements

Do I Need Firearms Training in Rhode Island?

Yes. Rhode Island requires concealed handgun license applicants to certify that they are qualified to use a handgun of a caliber equal to or greater than the caliber of handgun they intend to carry. The applicant is required to obtain a score of 195 or better out of a possible score of 300, with 30 consecutive rounds at a distance of 25 yards on any army “L” target, firing “slow” fire.

The range officers of the Rhode Island state police or any city or town police department maintaining a regular and continuing firearms training program, a pistol instructor certified by the National Rifle Association and/or the United States Revolver Association, or any other qualified persons that the attorney general may designate are authorized to certify the qualification.

How Do I Get a Concealed Handgun Permit in Rhode Island?

Step 1: Obtain your firearms qualification within one year of submitting your application.

Step 2: Download the application. Complete the form and have it notarized. You will need three typed, signed and dated notarized reference letters.

Step 3: Have passport-style photographs taken. You will need two photos.

Step 4: If applying through the attorney general, the application must be signed or stamped by the local police chief or a city hall official in the city or town of the applicant’s residence.

Step 5: In addition to the notarized application and reference letters, you will need to submit the following documents:

    • 2 FBI fingerprint cards
    • 2 forms of identification, signed and dated by a Notary Public
    • 2 passport-style photographs
    • 2 copies of your birth certificate or passport
    • Firearms training certificate along with a copy of the instructor’s NRA/FBI firearms instructor certification
    • All non-residents applying through local authorities must include a copy of their home state permit
    • If the license is to be used for employment, a typed and signed letter of explanation must be submitted on company letterhead along with a copy of the business license as proof that the business exists; and
    • If the license is NOT for employment, a typed and dated letter must be submitted by the applicant stating the reasons why a license is needed on a full-time basis.

Pay the fees.

You will be notified by mail of approval or denial of the license. If approved, you must appear in person to pick up your license.


For more information, visit the USCCA Rhode Island gun laws page now…