Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
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June 26, 2002


In accordance with the provisions of Rhode Island General Laws § 43-1-4, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 2002-H 6660, As Amended "An Act Relating to Criminal Offenses - Weapons."

Under current law, no permit is required to carry an unloaded pistol that is "securely wrapped:" 1) from its place of purchase ro the owner's residence; 2) in connection with a move "from one place of abode or business to another," or 3) to or from a bona fide target practice range. This bill would expand the limited exceptions where no permit is required by additionally allowing persons to transport an unloaded pistol or revolver: 1) between the owner's residence and the owner's business; 2) to a federal firearms licensee for the purpose of sale; 3) to and from a gunsmith; and 4) to a police station or other location for the purposes of a gun "buy-back" program. The bill also eliminates the requirement that the weapon be "securely wrapped" during transport and requires only that the ammunition not be "readily or directly" accessible from the passenger compartment or be stored in a separate locked container.

The State Police strongly request a veto of this bill. The significant expansion of permit exceptions proposed by this bill would make enforcing existing gun permit requirements virtually impossible. Unlicensed persons transporting guns could assert they were "on their way" to or from any of the numerous locations listed in the bill, leaving law enforcement authorities with little ability to disprove the claimed exemption. If enacted, this bill would change the law by allowing an individual to transport a weapon to and from home and work as well as other locations, conceivably on a daily basis without a permit. The permit requirement serves an indispensable function. To obtain a permit, an individual must undergo a background check, demonstrate need, show handling skills, provide sound references, and undertake safety training necessary for the safe transport of a weapon.

Moreover, because this bill eliminates the requirement that a gun be securely wrapped during transport, it increases the likelihood that the weapon will be used or that it will be mistaken for a loaded, operational weapon by law enforcement. Requiring a weapon to be securely wrapped or broken down during transport is particularly important for the very persons to whom this bill is addressed - those gun owners who are not licensed, and who may not be properly trained in transporting, handling, or using a weapon.

For these reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.


Lincoln Almond