In Rhode Island, any citizen who is 21 years of age or older can apply to purchase a pistol or a revolver. When you turn that application in as a resident of the Ocean State, though, you'll also need to present a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Pistol/Revolver Safety Certificate. Fortunately, this RIDEM safety certificate commonly goes by the much more palatable name of "blue card" and can be obtained after a fairly straightforward examination process.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
To get a blue card in Rhode Island, you've got to take a 50-question safety exam.
Start the Blue Card Process
Basically, the blue card certifies that the applicant wishing to purchase a firearm in Rhode Island has taken and passed the state-mandated handgun safety exam. So, to get a blue card in Rhode Island, you've got to take that test first. But how do you take the test? Easy – just visit any RIDEM-approved firearms dealer or sporting club in the state. Alternatively, you can take the test between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at:
Permit Application Center, RIDEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02808
In Rhode Island, active military personnel do not need to take the exam to get a blue card; those currently serving can simply present their active military ID at one of these locations:
- Division of Fish and Wildlife Great Swamp Field Headquarters, 277 Great Neck Rd., West Kingston, RI 02892
- RIDEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02808
Likewise, Rhode Island law enforcement professionals authorized by law to carry concealed firearms are issued a blue card without need for taking the exam. In any case, there's no fee to take the Rhode Island blue card exam. Spanish speakers can request to take the test in Spanish.
Take the RI Blue Card Test
The RI blue card test takes the form of a 50-question exam, with all of the questions in the multiple choice and true-or-false format. The test covers such topics as:
- Types of handguns, ammunition and handgun parts.
- Loading procedures.
- Proper handgun grip.
- Safe body positioning.
- Sighting and aiming.
- Handgun hunting.
- Recreational shooting.
- Cleaning and storage.
- Home safety.
- Transporting handguns.
- Rhode Island firearms laws.
Also included on the test is a section for the applicant's name and current mailing address.
Once you complete the test, it will be sent to the RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife for grading. To pass and receive your blue card, you must score 80 points or higher. More than two cross-offs or self-corrections will result in automatic failure. If you pass, you'll receive your blue card by mail in a few weeks' time; if you fail, you'll receive a notice of failure. For privacy purposes, the RIDEM will discard the records of your test within a month, so you'll have to retake the test if you lose your card.
More About the Blue Card
Keep in mind that a blue card is not a concealed carry permit and will not serve as its legal equivalent. However, an orange card – formally known as a Rhode Island Hunter Education Course Card – may be used in lieu of a blue card. You can get an orange card by completing the Rhode Island Hunter Education Program.
Before you take your blue card exam, it pays to study up. The RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a free study booklet, "Set Your Sights on Handgun Basics_,_" just for that purpose.
To get a list of vendors who offer the exam, to nab a study booklet or if you have any questions about the Rhode Island blue card or the RI blue card test, contact the RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-0281 or email: DEM.DFW@dem.ri.gov.