Following National Trend, RI Police Struggle with Massive Increase in Gun Permit Applications

In a letter to Gov. Raimondo, dated March 20th, Col. Sid Wordell, Executive Director of the RI Police Chiefs’ Association, requested an extension of the legal time frame to process background checks due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Police Departments Overrun

Colonel Rathbun, Warwick Police Chief, said the average permit requests prior to the crisis was approximately 28 per day. Average requests in Warwick had increased to 135 per day. 

RI Police Chiefs Assoc. Letter on Gun Sales Spike COVID-19 - March 2020

Chief Johnson, of the Richmond Police Department, indicated that his department was also facing serious problems due to the roughly 75% increase in permit applications since mid-March.

The letter states that “A survey of other departments advise of similar increases.” 

Background Check Time-Frame Extended

Gov. Raimondo signed Executive Order 20-07 on March 20th. (the same day she received the Col. Wordell’s letter) extending the time frame to complete a federal background check from 7 to 30 days.

*Update, April 17, 2020: Governor Raimondo extended the time frame of Executive Order 20-07 through May 8th.

“Christmas in March” for RI Gun Shops

Randy LeBeau, of Sakonnet River Outfitters, says sales are not only booming for guns, but also for ammunition:

“People who never thought they would own a gun are buying a gun … in the last
14 days or so that this has been going on I’ve talked 10 people out of buying a gun.”  – Randy LeBeau