A card that gun purchasers must show weapons retailers in Rhode Island to prove they have a basic understanding of gun safety is not being tracked, an investigation found.
Several law enforcement officials are calling for more stringent certification requirements for the state's so-called "Blue Card," as there is currently no way to determine whether a card is real, an investigation by WPRI showed.
Officials said the lack of information has made it challenging for them to share information related to gun owners and gun purchases across the state.
The state's Department of Environmental Management issues the cards to individuals who participate in a safety-training course that consists of at least two hours of instruction in the safe use and handling of pistols and revolvers. The agency is required by the state to destroy all records of applications within 30 days.
The issues with lack of record-keeping resurfaced after a 66-year-old man shot and killed one woman and injured two others in Westerly in December, before shooting himself, police said.
WPRI requested the copy of his Blue Card from the agency to learn more about how the suspected killer obtained the gun used in the attack. But the agency could not say whether the suspect had a valid card or if he even passed a required test to obtain one.
Frank Saccoccio, Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition leader, is among those who believe the state should not keep records of gun owners longer than mandated 30 days.
"We are absolutely opposed to a list being created with regard to Blue Cards because it does tend to indicate who is going to be a firearm owner," Saccoccio said. "It violates Rhode Island law, and it violates federal law."