There are two sharply divided sides to the gun debate in America. On one side there is the Second Amendment right to bear arms. On the other is gun safety and protection of the general public. It is up to states to balance those two interests. When states can have different laws and with overlapping federal law, trying to get a handle on gun regulations can be a bit tricky. So here is a brief summary of gun control laws in Delaware.
Delaware Gun Control Laws
State gun control laws regulate the purchase and use of firearms, and can vary from state to state. Certain weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and silencers are prohibited under Delaware’s gun control laws. The state, however, imposes no waiting period for prospective gun buyers, although they must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for gun ownership.
Delaware Gun Statutes
Not all states treat firearm laws the same way. The main provisions of Delaware’s gun control laws are listed in the table below.
|Code Section||Title 11 §1444 & §1445, §1448|
|Illegal Arms||Destructive weapons: firearm silencer, sawed-off shotgun, machine gun or any other firearm which is adaptable for use as a machine gun. Dangerous weapons: weapon compressed by air or spring which discharges pellet, slug, or bullet (except B.B. or airgun)|
|Who May Not Own||1. Convicted of felony or crime of violence involving physical injury to another, whether or not having in his possession any weapon during commission of such crime; 2. Anyone ever committed for mental disorder to hospital, sanitarium, or mental institution; 3. Convicted of unlawful use, possession, or sale of narcotic or dangerous drug; 4. Juvenile adjudicated as delinquent if conduct as adult would constitute a felony until 25th birthday; 5. Minor (under 18) (handgun, unless for recreational use while under adult supervision)|
|Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds||Felony. Title 11 §1457|
While Delaware and other states have their own gun laws, federal law also regulates gun ownership by determining the kinds of firearms citizens may legally own. And where federal and state laws intersect, federal law always trumps state law. While the Second Amendment guarantees the ability to own certain firearms, the government can put some restrictions on the right to bear arms. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act both apply to Delaware gun owners, so First Staters should be familiar with both statutes.
Delaware Gun Control Laws: Related Resources
State and federal firearms regulations can be confusing, especially when they overlap. If you have a criminal or civil case involving guns, or if you would like legal assistance to know your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner in Delaware, you can consult with an experienced Delaware attorney in your area. Or, if you have been injured by a gun in the state of Delaware, you may have recourse against the manufacturer, distributor, or owner of the gun. You can also find more general information on this topic in FindLaw’s gun law section.
Contact a qualified attorney.