Gun laws in Delaware
|Subject/Law||Long guns||Handguns||Relevant statutes||Notes|
|State permit required to purchase?||No||No|
|Assault weapon law?||No||No|
|Magazine capacity restriction?||No||No|
|Owner license required?||No||No|
|Permit required for concealed carry?||N/A||Yes||11 Del.C. § 1441||Delaware is a officially "may issue" state for concealed carry, but mostly shall-issue in practice. Permits are generally issued to all applicants not barred from owning a firearm.|
|Permit required for open carry?||No||No||Open carry without permit is generally lawful. A 2014 Delaware Supreme Court ruling recognized that open carry was a long standing fundamental right, and could only be prohibited by local ordinances in effect prior to July 4, 1985. The city of Dover formerly required a permit from the police chief for a state concealed permit to open carry, but this was repealed in October 2015 in accordance with the ruling.|
|State preemption of local restrictions?||Yes*||Yes*||22 Del.C § 111||Municipalities may regulate only the discharge of firearms and the possession of firearms within police stations and municipal buildings, unless the ordinance was in effect prior to July 4, 1985.|
|NFA weapons restricted?||Yes||Yes||SBRs and AOWs are legal. The city of Wilmington prohibits possession of SBRs within city limits. Machine guns, suppressors, Destructive Devices and SBS are prohibited for civilians.|
|Peaceable Journey laws?||No||No||Federal rules observed.|
|Background checks required for private sales?||Yes||Yes||147th General Assembly: Chapter 20||Private party transfers of firearms to persons other than family members must be conducted though a licensed dealer, who is required by federal law to conduct a background check and keep a record of the sale. A transfer to a person who possesses a valid License to Carry a Concealed Deadly Weapon is exempt from this requirement.|
|Red flag law?||Yes||Yes||House Bill 302 (2018)||If a mental health professional deems that a person is a danger to themselves or to others, the police may get a court order to temporarily seize that person's firearms.|
Purchasing a firearm
Delaware gun laws do not restrict purchasing of firearms, this includes rifles, shotguns, and handguns. You must be at least 18 to be able to purchase rifles and shotguns; 21 for handguns.
Delaware was voted the 5th easiest state to purchase a gun. There are about 5.6 registered gun owners per 1000 people in the state of Delaware, and over 1000 firearms dealers within the state. There are also gun shows that allow you to buy antique guns, and guns that are not currently being made or are rare.
Delaware law classifies a "firearm" as any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable, loaded or unloaded. It does not include BB guns.
The basic requirements to purchase a handgun are as follows: You must be 21 or older, you must have a state-registered ID, and pass a Federal background check.
Long barrel guns
The basic requirements to purchase a long barrel gun are almost identical to handgun laws. You must be 18 years or older, you must also have a state-registered ID, and pass a Federal background check.
Restrictions and requirements
Individuals that are barred from possessing firearms are those who have felony convictions. This also extends to misdemeanor violent offenses, along with all convictions that include narcotics and controlled substances. Another restriction that prevents people from obtaining firearms is if you have a mental instability or a mental illness. If you are younger than 16, unless you have supervision of an adult, you may not purchase a firearm. The only place where you are allowed to purchase a firearm without a background check would be a gun show and you would not need a background check to buy antique guns.
In the state of Delaware a buyer of a firearm is subject to a mandatory criminal background check. An adult-record check is also required. In 2016, the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation that required all gun purchasers to have a federal background check, however, if the government takes more than 3 days for the check the seller of the firearm is allowed to go forward with the sale. In the state of Delaware you are permitted to buy a shotgun with a background check being sent to the firearm dealer. The average cost of a state background check in Delaware is $52.
Extreme risk protection order
If the patient of a mental health professional makes an explicit or imminent threat to kill or injure someone, the professional must report this to the police. If the police verify that the person is a risk to themselves or to others, they may get an order from a judge to seize the person's firearms for up to 30 days. The Delaware Department of Justice can request that this period be extended.
To be able to carry a concealed weapon you must first have a CDW permit. In order to get this permit you must first post your application published at least once, at least 10 days before filing. You must then obtain and attach an affidavit which shows that the publication was met. After that you must also submit 5 reference questionnaires completed by citizens of the county in which you reside. Lastly, you must have the application notarized. If denied for your application you are allowed to appeal. If accepted you will have 90 days to complete the approved gun course, only then will you be allowed to carry a concealed weapon. After your first three years you will need to reapply for your permit. If you are granted another permit this one will now last for five years, not three. Delaware permits are honored in 28 states.
Legal gun owners can bring their firearms almost anywhere in the state of Delaware. Gun owners are legally allowed to openly carry handguns in the state. The only places where firearms are prohibited by law are courthouses, police stations, and a few additional areas. Public parks were prohibited area until the state Supreme Court found their inclusion unconstitutional and prohibited enforcement of a carry ban on state park lands. Shortly thereafter, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Department of Agriculture promulgated regulations to forbid carrying a firearm without a permit in several places including camping areas and lodges, exempting permit holders if they show their permits when asked without probable cause. The Superior Court found these to be unconstitutional as well.
- "State Gun Laws: Delaware", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "Delaware State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "Concealed Weapons Reciprocity", Delaware Attorney General's Office. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Delaware Gun Laws". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- "Delaware", Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
- "Easiest states to buy a gun". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
- Goss, Scott (April 24, 2018). "'Red Flag' Gun Bill Passes, Heads to Delaware Governor's Desk". The News Journal. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
- Livingston, Michael (May 14, 2018). "More States Approving 'Red Flag' Laws to Keep Guns Away from People Perceived as Threats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
- "Delaware Supreme Court strikes down broad restrictions on gun possession in state parks and forests", Washington Post, Volokh Conspiracy. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Round Two: Gun Rights Groups Prevail (Again) in Second Challenge to Firearm Restrictions in Delaware's State Parks, Forests". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
- "Delaware State Sportsmen's Association v. Garvin" (PDF). pp. 39–41.
- "Gun laws in Delaware" (PDF).