Providence Unlawful Discharge of Firearm

As reported in the December 13, 2010 edition of the Providence Journal, a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly has been charged with illegally discharging a firearm. According to police, the man was outside of a Providence nightclub, when he fired the gun. Police officers in Providence heard the gunshot and went to investigate.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law, 11-47-50, the man could be charged with discharging a firearm in a compact area, defined as:

Every person, not being at the time under military duty, who shall discharge any firearm, "BB gun", or other contrivance arranged to discharge shot, bullets, arrows, darts, or other missiles within the compact part of any city or town, or who shall discharge a firearm or other contrivance elsewhere, except upon land owned or occupied by him or her or by permission of the owner or occupant of the land on or into which he or she may shoot, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be subject to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or one year in prison, or both; provided, that any city or town may by ordinance permit the discharge on non-posted land.

It is unclear whether the man had a license to own a firearm. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 11-47-11:

The licensing authorities of any city or town shall, upon application of any person twenty-one (21) years of age or over having a bona fide residence or place of business within the city or town, or of any person twenty-one (21) years of age or over having a bona fide residence within the United States and a license or permit to carry a pistol or revolver concealed upon his or her person issued by the authorities of any other state or subdivision of the United States, issue a license or permit to the person to carry concealed upon his or her person a pistol or revolver everywhere within this state for four (4) years from date of issue, if it appears that the applicant has good reason to fear an injury to his or her person or property or has any other proper reason for carrying a pistol or revolver, and that he or she is a suitable person to be so licensed. The license or permit shall be in triplicate in form to be prescribed by the attorney general and shall bear the fingerprint, photograph, name, address, description, and signature of the licensee and the reason given for desiring a license or permit and in no case shall it contain the serial number of any firearm. The original shall be delivered to the licensee. Any member of the licensing authority, its agents, servants, and employees shall be immune from suit in any action, civil or criminal, based upon any official act or decision, performed or made in good faith in issuing a license or permit under this chapter.

(b) Notwithstanding any other chapter or section of the general laws of the state of Rhode Island, the licensing authority of any city or town shall not provide or release to any individual, firm, association or corporation the name, address, or date of birth of any person who has held or currently holds a license or permit to carry a concealed pistol or revolver. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the release of any statistical data of a general nature relative to age, gender and racial or ethnic background nor shall it be construed to prevent the release of information to parties involved in any prosecution of § 11-47-8 or in response to a lawful subpoena in any criminal or civil action which the person is a party to that action.

If you or a family member has been charged with weapon related offenses, such as illegal possession of a firearm or other serious charges, please allow attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at

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