FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

Delaware Gun Laws

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Introduction

Delaware is situated on the Atlantic Coast.  It is surrounded on the south and west by Maryland, and bordered to the east by New Jersey. Pennsylvania is found just to the north. Delaware is a small state in area, with a population of about 934,000 total. It is divided into three counties, two of which are agricultural, and one of which is industrial. Open carry is legal in Delaware even without a license to carry.

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A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Delaware Constitution states:

“A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”

[http://gunla.ws/de1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of the Delaware preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“The county governments shall enact no law or regulation prohibiting, restricting or licensing the ownership, transfer, possession, or transportation of firearms or components of firearms or ammunition except that the discharge of a firearm may be regulated; provided any law, ordinance or regulation incorporates the justification defenses as found in Title 11 of the Delaware Code.” [http://gunla.ws/de2] Title 11: [http://gunla.ws/de3]

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C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Delaware will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Delaware’s license:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code to the contrary, the State of Delaware shall give full faith and credit and shall otherwise honor and give full force and effect to all licenses/permits issued to the citizens of other states where those issuing states also give full faith and credit and otherwise honor the licenses issued by the State of Delaware pursuant to this section and where those licenses/permits are issued by authority pursuant to state law and which afford a reasonably similar degree of protection as is provided by licensure in Delaware…”

Delaware’s most up-to-date reciprocity agreement can be viewed online. [http://gunla.ws/7t7m]

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D. Criminal Provisions

Under Delaware law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by Delaware, or a person is carrying pursuant to reciprocity between his or her state of license and Delaware:

  • Federal Buildings
  • State approved “SLOTS”
  • Courthouses, police stations, prisons and detention facilities
  • State and National Forests and State Parks (in state parks, firearms are allowed for hunting only, no concealed carry)
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Shooting from any motor vehicle, motor or sail boat or while riding in or upon any piece of farm machinery. Discharge of a firearm within 15 yards of a public road, nor across a public road.

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/de4]

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E. NFA Items

The only NFA items that may be owned in Delaware are SBRs and AOWs. The city of Wilmington prohibits possession of SBRs within city limits. MGs, suppressors, DDs and SBSs are prohibited for non-LEO individuals. [http://gunla.ws/kxb1]

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F. Duty to Inform Officers

Delaware does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied. You must carry a valid photo identification at all times that you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun. You must produce identification upon demand by a LEO.

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G. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Delaware requires a permit in order to carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle. People without a permit may carry a handgun in their vehicle so long as it is in plain view and can be seen from outside the vehicle, such as on the dashboard or passenger seat.

[http://gunla.ws/de5] & [http://gunla.ws/x1er]

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H. Universal Background Checks

Background checks are mandatory for all firearm sales, and transfers between private parties, except between family members, must go through a licensed dealer. This does not apply to holders of a valid Delaware carry license. [http://gunla.ws/huly]

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I. Self-defense Laws

Delaware has modified form of Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in Your dwelling or place of work, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, kidnapping, or rape. [http://gunla.ws/de6]

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J. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that you not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

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K. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

No. “No Firearm” signs in Delaware do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to arrest for criminal trespass.

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L. Open Carry

Open carry without a permit is legal in Delaware. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” section above apply to those who open carry. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More