Rhode Island's Tough Gun Laws Miss the Mark

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Rhode Island is a sate that does not get a lot of attention in the national arena. Does that have to do explicitly with it being the smallest state in the union? Perhaps, no. Rhode Island does have Providence, a city with a population of approximately 180,000. In comparison to say Boston, another New England city with about 670,000 people, Providence is about 30% its size. According to statistics from City-data.com, we can see how this little city ranks in the crime department. Data shows that Providence has a crime rate that’s higher than average, noting that “It was higher than in 84.7% U.S. cities”. Also looking at their data set, you can see that violent crime (murder and rape) has been on the increase for many years in a row.


Contributing to that rise in crime is one reported evening involving two firearm related arrests. The Providence Journal covered the arrests of Bryant Sanchez and Juan Arciliares, in unrelated events. According to the article, these arrests come at the heels of “a week of violence in the city, [with] police on heightened alert”. Both arrests involve being in possession of a firearm without a license.

In one case, police arrested Bryant Sanchez, 31, of Providence, after Patrolman Guillermo Vargas was flagged down on Cranston Street by an unnamed individual reporting that someone in a white Jeep Compass with Michigan registration had just pointed a firearm at him.

Moments later, Vargas spotted the white Jeep turn left onto Cranston Street from Hanover Street without using a turn signal.

He caught up with the vehicle turning into the driveway of 18 Kenwood St., and placed Sanchez in handcuffs. Sanchez told a second officer he had discarded the firearm a short distance away, the police said.

Officers found a brown leather satchel on the sidewalk containing a Glock 19 9mm handgun in front of 34 Kenwood St., according to a police report provided by Commander Thomas Verdi.

Sanchez was charged with possession of a firearm without a license.

The second case, involving Arciliares, has an interesting detail. Arciliares allegedly fled to a nearby home and went into a bedroom. After the police caught up with him this is what they found:


…the police report says, the officers checked out the bedroom where they found a silver revolver — described as an Armscor Model 200 revolver with an obliterated serial number) — lying on top of the box spring beneath the mattress.

Arciliares has been charged by the city’s Violent Crime Task Force with carrying a pistol without a license and alteration of identifying marks.

Archiliares being in possession of a defaced firearm should come as no surprise. What is shocking is that the report did not capitalize on this information to push rhetoric surrounding “ghost guns”, as defaced firearms have had that label misappropriated upon them in other news outlets (new narrative).

One of the best places to check to see if a state has bad restrictions on the Second Amendment is none other than Giffords. The gun control group’s Giffords Law Center gives Rhode Island a “B+” rating, which is all our readers need to know. When the anti-freedom organizations give a state or their policies a high grade, we can assume they have draconian and unconstitutional provisions in their laws. Maybe this form of reporting is an unintended consequence, but just look at the “A” ratings for California and New Jersey, both having horrible laws for responsible gun owners (and cites with high violent crime). What does Giffords have to say about Rhode Island?


Rhode Island has relatively strong gun laws, and took critical action in 2020 to strengthen regulations surrounding untraceable and undetectable firearms. The state has the fifth-lowest gun death rate. To help save lives from gun violence, Rhode Island legislators should regulate large-capacity magazines and assault weapons and invest in community violence intervention programs.

Where exactly does Little Rhody’s regulations on untraceable and undetectable firearms come into play when alleged criminals are running around with firearms that have had their serial number removed? They don’t.

What about their permitting scheme? It did not keep firearms out of these two individuals’ hands. The reason for this is because the criminal element does not have any respect for the law to begin with, so what makes the talking heads think they are going to follow regulations from recent “critical actions” or any new measures?

Evidently Providence has a bit of a crime issue and their tough laws do nothing to stop criminal activity, but it appears that Giffords doesn’t actually take violent crime into account when its ranking states. New Hampshire, for instance, gets an “F” grade, even though its rate of violent crime is far less than Rhode Island’s. The fact that the gun control organizations care far more about putting more gun laws on the books than how well they actually work to reduce crime is telling. It’s not about making anyone safer. It’s all about control.


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