Straw Buyers

House Bill 5386 – Rep. Knight, Caldwell, Craven, McEntee, Speakman, Blazejewski, Carson, Amore, Kazarian, Williams
Senate Bill 416 Sen. Miller, Coyne, Cano, Bell, Quezada, Goodwin, DiPalma, Acosta, Mendes, Goldin

Cracking Down on Gun Trafficking

This new legislation would close a gaping loophole and provide the Attorney General’s Office the tools they need to more effectively prosecute individuals engaged in these extremely dangerous criminal activities.

This act would prohibit purchasing, transferring, or obtaining a firearm on behalf of another person if that person is prohibited from possessing a firearm and increase the penalties for purchase of firearms by use of false information. The act would also amend applications for the purchase of pistols, revolvers, shotguns, and rifles to include the total number of pistols, revolvers, shotguns, and rifles to be purchased by the applicant.

Two Big 2020 Cases Demonstrate the Need for this Legislation

February Sentencing for Rhode Island Straw Buyer and Gun Trafficking Operation

Two Providence men were sentenced to a combined 16 years in prison for their roles in a straw buyer and gun trafficking scheme. The men were arrested in August 2020 and the case also involves two co-conspirators who planned to purchase firearms from a gun store in Warwick. Read more …

Five Charged in Straw Buyer and Gun Trafficking Scheme in Rhode Island

An August 2020 stolen gun report has led to the arrest of five Rhode Islanders in a straw buyer/gun trafficking operation. Police allege one of the men visited gun shops in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick, Cranston and North Kingstown where he spent more than $40,000 on guns and ammunition that he intended to sell to purchasers who are prohibited from possessing firearms.  Read more …

“Straw purchases … have only one purpose – to avoid the federal and state background checks designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals precluded by law from buying them themselves.”
Peter Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Office of the Attorney General in a coordinated effort to bring an end to the distribution and flow of guns within the streets of Providence.”
Steven Pare, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety

On gun violence in Providence since COVID-19, Col. Clements talks about two large tranches of guns — one from a man who stands accused of falsely reporting stolen guns he actually sold illegally, and another from a burglary — made their way onto the streets in 2020 …[and that] officers had been recovering those weapons one by one.
Col. Hugh Clements, Providence Police Chief

Background Checks Continue to Surge

92% Increase

in RI NICS Checks

Source: FBI NICS Firearm Checks

January 2021 RI NICS Checks


January 2020 RI NICS Checks

Massive Surge in 2020 Background Checks Coincides with Dramatic Rise in Gun Violence

Do Guns Make Us Safer? The Evidence Says No.

Firearms and accidental deaths: Evidence from the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting

“The spike in gun exposure that followed the Sandy Hook school shooting increased the incidence of accidental firearm deaths, particularly among children.”

The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Firearm Homicide Rates

“States with higher levels of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.”

Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A Comprehensive Assessment 

“RTC laws are consistently shown to increase violent crime, with the 10th-year increase ranging from a low of 13.5 to a high of 14.3 percent.”