After considerable changes to benefit Delaware’s firearm owners, House Bill 46 was approved last night by the Delaware House of Representatives. As originally drafted, HB 46 would have permitted law enforcement to dispose of any firearm and ammunition seized if not claimed within sixty days of a certified letter sent to one’s last known address.
Thanks to NRA member support, HB 46 was amended so that a law enforcement agency may only dispose of a firearm through either the sale or transfer to an FFL or destruction -- if the owner did not assert their ownership rights after 6 months from proper notice. Under the bill, proper notice shall mean written notice by a certified letter to the owners last known address and by publication in a local or statewide newspaper at least once a week for two consecutive weeks.
In order to ensure the certified letter is being sent to the correct address, the law-enforcement agency shall be required to search the databases of the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, Family Court and the DMV.
Additionally, the bill now includes language to protect the due process rights of the firearm owner if they are denied return of their firearm by law enforcement. Any person who is denied their request for return of their firearm shall have the right to file a petition in a court for the return of the firearm.
HB 46 now moves to the state Senate for consideration. The Delaware General Assembly will reconvene in two weeks after Easter recess and the NRA will keep you up to date on legislation impacting your rights.