Posted on January 2, 2012
Last updated December 9, 2013
In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Delaware ranked 10th out of 50 – having enacted some of the strongest gun laws in the country.
In 2013, the Delaware legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.
Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation
|DE H 35||Requires background checks for private sales of firearms.|
|DE S 16||Requires any owner of a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm within 7 days after the discovery of the loss or theft to either local law enforcement or the state police.|
Among other things, Delaware:
- Requires a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties;
- Requires retail firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- Requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks and maintain records of the dealer’s employees (employees prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns are barred from selling firearms);
- Obligates gun owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms; and
- Prohibits domestic violence misdemeanants and persons subject to a domestic violence order of protection from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Delaware does not, however:
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- License firearm owners;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases; or
- Regulate unsafe handguns.
Local governments in Delaware generally lack authority to regulate firearms and ammunition.
Delaware ranks 32nd among the states in number of gun deaths per capita. In 2009, 76 people died from firearm-related injuries in Delaware. That year, Delaware supplied the 23rd highest number of crime guns to other states per capita, but the state imports more crime guns than it exports.
Delaware Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Delaware, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.