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Ghost guns: Are they legal in Rhode Island?

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

While the Second Amendment protects the right of any American to keep and bear arms, there are still laws designed to regulate who can own guns. For instance, federal rules require background checks on anyone purchasing firearms, prohibit possession of weapons in a school zone and even set the minimum age to own a handgun at 21.

Some firearm enthusiasts might think that these rules are too restrictive. They might purchase “ghost guns” to skirt these laws while exercising their right to bear arms.

However, ghost guns are illegal in Rhode Island. Anyone caught owning or dealing with these unregulated firearms can face harsh penalties and a criminal conviction on record.

What are ghost guns?

Ghost guns, also called privately made firearms, refer to firearms assembled by private citizens by procuring individual parts from manufacturers. Ghost gun “kits” often include all the necessary components to turn an unfinished frame into a working firearm.

Those who sell ghost guns advertise that these kits are unregulated and untraceable. Coupled with the fact that there aren’t federal restrictions on who can purchase ghost guns or how many can be purchased, anyone can easily acquire these firearms. This has raised concerns about how criminals could quickly obtain the weapons.

While there may be no restrictions on the federal level, Rhode Island is one of several U.S. states prohibiting ghost guns.

The penalties

By Rhode Island law, it’s illegal for anyone to manufacture, buy, sell, transfer and possess a ghost gun. This includes even gun owners who have a firearms license. Anyone convicted of violating the law faces up to 10 years in prison and must pay a maximum fine of $10,000.

No matter what a gun enthusiast’s reason may be to purchase or own a ghost gun or how clean their criminal record is, the state still considers ownership of such weapons illegal. Anyone facing charges should consider their legal options wisely because a conviction leads to fines, prison time and a criminal record.