Delaware

Updated as of Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

“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.”

Article 1, §20.

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNSHANDGUNS
Permit to PurchaseNoNo
Registration of FirearmsNoNo
Licensing of OwnersNoNo
Permit to CarryNoYes

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

Reciprocity

  • These states recognize Delaware permits:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia
  • Delaware recognizes permits from:
  • Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia

Map of states recognizing Delaware permits:

A synopsis of Delaware state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

It is lawful for a person residing in this State to purchase or otherwise obtain a rifle or shotgun in a State contiguous to this State and to receive or transport such rifle or shotgun into this State, subject however, to such other laws of the State or its political subdivision as may be applicable. READ ALL

No permit is required to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. Purchasers of rifles and shotguns must be 18 years old. Handgun purchasers must be 21 years old.

Prior to purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer, a criminal history record check and an involuntary commitment of an adult record check is required.  Purchases of shotguns and antique firearms (or replicas of antiques) are exempted from the background check requirement, as are purchases by law enforcement personnel.  Persons prohibited from possessing firearms are prohibited from purchasing firearms. 

Any dealer who transfers firearms between private parties may charge a reasonable fee not to exceed $20.00 to cover the cost of the background check.

It is unlawful to transfer to a person under 18 any firearm or ammunition without permission from a parent or guardian.

HIDE
POSSESSION

There is no state licensing requirement for the possession of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.  READ ALL

The following persons are prohibited from purchasing or possessing any firearm:

•  Convicted felons.

•  Those convicted of a crime of violence involving bodily injury to another, including misdemeanors, but the prohibition shall not apply after five years from the date of conviction for misdemeanors.

•  Those convicted of an offense involving a narcotic, dangerous drug, or controlled substance.

•  Those who have ever been committed to a mental institution, sanitarium or hospital for mental disorder and do not possess a certificate of rehabilitation.

•  Children under 16 years of age, unless under the direct supervision of an adult.

•  A person adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, unless and until that person has reached age 25.

It is a felony to knowingly give a firearm to a person prohibited from possessing a firearm. It is a felony to purchase a firearm on behalf of a person prohibited from possessing a firearm, or to purchase with the intent to transfer, give, or sell a firearm to a person prohibited from possessing it. It is unlawful for a parent to permit his or her child under 16 years of age to possess a firearm (whether operable or inoperable) or air or BB gun except under the direct supervision of an adult.  It is a misdemeanor for anyone to possess any air gun or spring-fired gun firing or projecting anything larger than a BB shot.

HIDE
CARRYING

It is unlawful for any person except a law enforcement officer to carry any loaded or unloaded firearm concealed upon or about his person without a license to carry. Handguns may be carried in open view, or in an inaccessible area like the trunk of an automobile. Rifles and shotguns must be unloaded while being carried in or on any vehicle, farm machinery, motorboat while under power, or sailboat while under power. READ ALL

Application for a license to carry must be filed with the Prothonotary of the Superior Court in the county of residence at least 15 days before the then next term of court. The initial license is valid for 3 years.

The applicant must supply a certificate signed by five “respectable” citizens of the county in which the applicant resides, clearly stating that the applicant is a person of “full age (18), sobriety and good moral character, that he bears a good reputation for peace and good order in the community in which he resides, and that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by the applicant is necessary for the protection of the applicant or his property or both.” The certificate must be signed with the proper signatures and in the proper handwriting of each respectable citizen.  The applicant must also file a notarized certificate to certify that the applicant has completed an approved firearms training course.

The Prothonotary of the county in which any applicant for a license files the same shall cause notice of every application to be published once, at least 10 days before the next term of the Superior Court.  The Court may or may not, in its discretion, approve any application.

The applicant must pay a $65.00 application fee plus all taxes for the license as well as the cost of advertising the notice. Renewals are $65.00

A current holder of a license to carry, may, on or before the expiration date, without further application or additional requirements, renew license for a further period of 5 years by paying to the Prothonotary the license tax and fee, and upon filing with the Prothonotary an affidavit setting forth that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon is necessary for the protection of himself or his property, or both, and that he possesses all the requirements for the issuance of a license. A person may make license renewals every 5 years thereafter, however, the Superior Court upon good cause presented to it may deny it for good cause shown.

HIDE
ANTIQUES AND REPLICAS

Any firearm manufactured before 1899 or any replica of such firearm that does not fire fixed ammunition or uses fixed ammunition no longer manufactured in the U.S. and which is no longer readily available in the ordinary channels of commerce is exempt from the background check for purchasers, however, it is a firearm for all other purposes.

MACHINE GUNS

Possession of a machine gun or any other firearm or weapon, which is adaptable for use as a machine gun, is a felony. Persons may possess machine guns for scientific or experimental research and development purposes provided such machine guns have been registered under the provisions of the National Firearms Act.

The provisions regarding machine guns do not apply to members of the military forces or to members of a police force in Delaware authorized to carry machine guns.

PREEMPTION

Municipal governments shall enact no law restricting or licensing ownership, transfer, possession, or transportation of firearms or ammunition.

Range Protection

Nuisance suits cannot be brought against any shooting range or hunting operation that has been in operation for at least a year if such properties did not constitute a nuisance when operations commenced. READ ALL

§ 8142. Limitations on shooting range and hunting operations nuisance suits

(a) For the purposes of this section, the terms “shooting range” and “hunting operations” and “its appurtenances” mean an operation including any of the following:

(1) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use for the shooting of targets for training, education, practice, recreation or competition;

(2) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a hunting club, hunting preserve, shooting preserve or a restricted experimental, propagating and shooting preserve as provided for in subchapter V of Chapter 5 of Title 7;

(3) Lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a kennel, training facility or field trial facility for the breeding, showing, raising and/or training of hunting and sporting dogs; and

(4) Clubs, associations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, corporations and other business and social entities whose activities or holdings include the land and uses described in paragraphs (a)(1)--(3) of this section.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) Shooting ranges or hunting operations which do not conform to federal, state or local health or zoning requirements except as may otherwise be provided elsewhere herein; or

(2) Shooting ranges or hunting operations which are conducted in a negligent or unlawful manner.

(c) No shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions in or about the locality thereof after the same has been in operation for more than 1 year if the operation or the change did not constitute a nuisance from the date the shooting range or hunting operation began or the date the change in the operation began. Likewise, a shooting range or hunting operation which fully complied with local zoning requirements when operations first began shall not be deemed to be non-compliant based upon zoning requirements which have subsequently changed since the initial commencement of operations.

(d) Subject to the limitations of subsection (c) of this section, any and all state laws and ordinances of any unit of local government now in effect or hereafter adopted that would make the operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or its appurtenances a nuisance or providing for abatement thereof as a nuisance in the circumstances set forth in this section shall be null and void as applied to shooting ranges and hunting operations and their respective appurtenances; however, this section shall not apply whenever nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances or when there has been a significant and fundamental change in the operation itself.

HIDE
MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

It is a felony to knowingly transport or possess any firearm manufactured after 1973 on which the serial number has been altered or obliterated. READ ALL

It is unlawful to shoot across a road or within 15 yards of a road, or within 100 yards of an occupied building or barn or “other building used in connection therewith.”

It is unlawful to recklessly or negligently leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a person under 18 and where such person obtains the firearm and uses it to inflict serious physical injury or death upon himself or any other person. However, it is an affirmative defense that:

  • the firearm was stored in a locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure from access to a minor;
  • the minor obtained the firearm as the result of an unlawful entry by any person; or
  • the serious physical injuries or death to the minor or any other person resulted from a target or sport shooting accident or hunting accident.
HIDE

SOURCES: Del. Code, Ann. 7-709, 7-726, 7-730, 11-222,11-1441 et seq., 22-838, 24-901, et seq.

CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.