Delaware Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Delaware

Permits are only necessary to carry handguns in the state of Delaware and not necessary to carry rifles or shotguns. Permits to purchase, the registration of, and owner licensing for shotguns, rifles, and handguns is not needed in Delaware. The only stipulation for purchasing shotguns and rifles is that the individual must be over eighteen years of age. Individuals must be over twenty-one years of age to purchase handguns in Delaware.

Delaware LawsPurchasing firearms in general does take extra work. Before a purchase is made, each buyer must have his or her background checked for criminal history records. But when a firearm is bought from an antique store, the background check is unnecessary. This is also true for those who hold concealed weapons permits.

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.

Possessing Firearms in Delaware

Certain firearms are even banned from being inside the state, such as shotguns with sawed-off barrels that are eighteen inches or less. If the shotgun is shorter than twenty-six inches then it is illegal. The state of Delaware sets guidelines for who are allowed to possess firearms. Prohibited individuals include any individual who has been convicted of a felony; any individual who has been convicted of a violent crime where another person received bodily injury; individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanors and have yet to reach the five-year statute; individuals who have been convicted of possessing dangerous drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances; and any individual who has been committed to a sanitarium, mental institution, or mental hospital and left without a rehabilitation certificate.

Individuals under the age of sixteen are not allowed to possess firearms without adult supervision. Adjudicated juveniles who are under the age of twenty-five lose their right to bear arms if they have been convicted of a crime that would otherwise be treated as an adult felony. Delaware states that selling, transferring, or giving a firearm to a prohibited individual is a felony as is it to purchase a firearm from a prohibited individual. Individuals who are under the age of sixteen are by law not allowed to possess BB guns or any other form of firearm without direct adult supervision. Possessing a spring-fired gun or an air gun that is larger than a BB gun qualifies as a misdemeanor in Delaware.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Other Laws

Delaware has a handful of provisions that do not fall under any other category. For instance transferring, possessing, transporting, and licensing to own firearms can be restricted by the municipal governments. If the serial number of a gun has been removed or altered, it is considered a felony to possess or transport the firearm if the manufacture date is after 1973. Laws state that in order to shoot a firearm legally, the individual must be at least fifteen yards away from any road and at least one hundred yards from any building holding people. Law states that it is illegal to allow those under the age of eighteen access to a loaded firearm where the individual may cause bodily injury to another person or him or herself.

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