FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 23, 2022
CONTACT: Pete Bilderback, RICAGV Vice Chair,

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Reacts to Extremist Supreme Court Decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is extremely dangerous and overturns over a century of precedent. Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Board Vice-Chair Pete Bilderback says, “The ruling risks turning the Second Amendment into a suicide pact.”

The court struck down a law that had been on the books in New York State for over one hundred years and has roots going back to colonial times, using the reasoning that it is inconsistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. If they judge a one-hundred-year-old law inconsistent with historical tradition, then nearly all firearm regulation is threatened by this extremist court. What other laws, if any, the court will overturn remains to be determined.

The ruling does not call into question the recently passed laws in Rhode Island, including the large-capacity magazine ban, but we expect these laws to be challenged, and we don’t know how the court might rule on them in future cases.

It is not clear to what extent Rhode Island’s concealed carry statutes (R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-11(a), R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-47-18(a)) will be affected by this ruling. Based on our analysis, Rhode Island can continue to require a license to carry a concealed handgun in public, and it can continue to regulate the carrying of firearms in “sensitive locations,” including schools. The state can also continue to require firearm training before issuing a license.

Rhode Island was not one of the six states called out in the ruling as having unacceptable concealed carry laws, but current Rhode Island law does allow law enforcement and the attorney general more latitude than some other states before issuing a permit. Rhode Island law allows licensing authorities to determine if an applicant is “suitable” to be licensed and has “proper reason” for carrying a handgun.

Given that the crux of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen rested on whether an applicant must demonstrate a need to obtain a license, it is unclear whether the state will be stripped of that latitude by today’s ruling.

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence is studying what changes if any, need to be made to our concealed carry laws for them to remain effective. RICAGV Vice-Chair Pete Bilderback says, “No court decision will ever deter us from fighting to keep Rhode Islanders safer from gun violence.”