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Delaware Gun Laws

Under Delaware law, you are not required to have a permit or restricted from purchasing firearms meaning handguns, rifles, and shotguns.  However, according to 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1442, you must obtain the proper license if you are going to be carrying a concealed weapon on or near your person.  The only discrepancy where this is concerned is that you have to be at least 18 years old to purchase rifles and shotguns whereas you cannot buy a handgun unless you are 21 or older.

How to Obtain a Concealed Handgun License in Delaware

Under Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1442 of the Delaware state code, you are required to obtain a concealed handgun license.  In order to obtain this license, you will have to apply in your county of residence to the principal clerk of the court.  However, there will be qualifications that you will have to:

  • •    Be 21 years of age or older
  • •    File a notarized certificate that verifying your completion of a Delaware state-approved Firearms safety training course
  • •    Include a notarized document stating that you are an individual of good reputation, moral character, and sobriety signed by five “respectable citizens”, and that carrying a concealed weapon is necessary for the protection of you and your family, your property, or both
  • •    Submit the $65 application fee
  • •    Submit your application a minimum of 15 days prior to the next term of the Superior Court
  • •    Verify your application in front of the clerk including your certificate and the signers of those 5 individuals mentioned above and either take an oath or submit a written affirmation

In addition to meeting the above requirements, you will have to submit to a background and criminal history check.  You may be wondering are any firearms are exempt from the background and criminal history checks? The answer is yes, provided they are antiques or antique replicas.  Additionally, you are not allowed to manufacture, possess, receive, or sell sawed-off shotguns.  The maximum length cannot be less than 26”and one or more barrels cannot be shorter than 18”.

Does Delaware Recognize Concealed Handgun Licenses from Other States?

According to Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1441(a) (5), the answer is yes, provided it is one of the reciprocal states that are published on the Delaware District Attorney’s website.  As it currently stands, there are 18 reciprocal states on the DA’s list including:

— Alaska                                             — Arizona
— Arkansas                                         — Colorado
— Florida                                            — Kentucky
— Maine                                              — Michigan
— Missouri                                        — New Mexico
— North Carolina                            — North Dakota
— Ohio                                               — Oklahoma
— Tennessee                                     — Texas
— Utah                                               — West Virginia

Any individual that possesses a license to carry a weapon from any one of the above states will be legal to do the same in Delaware as well.

Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Handgun License in Newark, DE

According to Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1442, the failure to have a concealed handgun license when carrying a weapon is a class D felony in the state of Delaware.  The penalties for such an offense could result in a sizable fine and up to several years in prison.  Additionally, you may not carry a handgun:

  • •    In any Safe School and Recreation Zone (see Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1457)
  • •    In a vehicle (see Title 7 Del. Code Ann. § 708)
  • •    Without a concealed firearms license (see Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1441)

Who is not Allowed to Carry a Weapon in the State of Delaware?

According to Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1448, the following is a list of the individuals who are prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms in Delaware:

  • •    A person that has been diagnosed with a mental disorder and was committed to a mental hospital or some other mental health facility (the exception here would be a person that has been certified by a state-licensed doctor and no longer has a mental or psychological disorder that could possibly interfere with the ability to handle a deadly weapon)
  • •    A person who is under a protective order of the court
  • •    Anyone that has been convicted of a domestic violence crime
  • •    Convicted felons and juveniles convicted of a felony as an adult
  • •    Fugitives from justice
  • •    Individuals under 21 years of age
  • •    Individuals who have been convicted for the unlawful possession, sale, or use of certain controlled substances (includes anyone who is addicted to or illegally possesses certain controlled substances)

Miscellaneous Provisions of the Law

A municipal government in the state of Delaware cannot enact any legislation that restricts the ownership, possession, transfer, or transportation of any firearms and their ammunition.  As a result:

  • •    It is unlawful for an individual to shoot a weapon across any road, within 45 feet of a road, or within 300 feet of any occupied barn, building or other structure used in their connection.
  • •    It is unlawful to negligently or recklessly leave a loaded firearm within easy access or reach of any individual under 18 years of age and where said individual could use it cause death or serious physical injury upon another person or themselves.
  • •    You will be convicted of a felony if you knowingly possess or transport any firearm whose serial number has been altered or removed and was manufactured after 1973.

An affirmative defense can be used in certain cases such as if the weapon had been stored in a sealed and locked container or in a specific location where it was believed to be inaccessible by a minor.  This type of defense may also apply if a minor gained possession of the firearm as a result of any unlawful entry.  Finally, this defense can also be used when the death or serious physical injuries to the minor or any other individual resulted from a hunting, sport shooting, or target shooting accident.

Getting Legal Help from a Newark Attorney

If you are convicted under Title 11 Del. Code Ann. § 1442 for carrying a concealed weapon without the appropriate license in the state of Delaware, you are going to need the experience and expertise of a good criminal defense attorney.  They will be able to consult with you and answer any of your questions regarding Delaware gun laws.  By thoroughly evaluating and researching your case, they will be able to recommend a defense that protects your rights and ensures the best possible outcome for your case.

I serve the Newark, University of Delaware campus, Wilmington, Middletown, Bear, Glasgow, Pike Creek, Hockessin, Claymont, New Castle, Odessa, Townsend, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Seaford, Georgetown, Lewes and Rehoboth Beach areas.