Any person seeking to engage in the business of selling deadly weapons “made especially for the defense of one’s person,” which specifically includes handguns, must acquire a “special license to sell deadly weapons.”1 The license is valid until the first day of June following the license’s issuance.2 An application fee of $50 must accompany an application for a license to conduct such business or an application for renewal of such license.3

Prior to transferring any firearm, a dealer must, conduct a background check of the potential purchaser or transferee.4 See the Delaware Background Checks section for further information.

Firearms Dealer Recordkeeping

Dealers are required to keep and maintain a record of all deadly weapons sales, including the date of the sale, the name and address of the purchaser, the number and kind of deadly weapons purchased, the age of the purchaser, and the picture identification used.5 The record must be kept at the place of business and be open for inspection by any judge, justice of the peace, police officer, constable or other peace officer of the state “at all times.”6

Employee Background Checks

Dealers must keep a list of all current employees, conduct annual criminal background checks on these employees,7 and maintain a record of the results of the employee background checks.8 The employee lists and background check records are considered confidential but must be open for inspection by state or local law enforcement. Dealers must not knowingly allow any employee who is prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon under state law to sell or transfer a deadly weapon.9

Private Sale Background Checks

Licensed dealers are required to facilitate the transfer of a firearm at the request of any unlicensed seller by conducting a background check on the prospective buyer.10 Both the unlicensed seller and prospective purchaser must appear together at the licensed dealer’s place of business to complete the background check and transaction. The sale cannot proceed if the prospective buyer is prohibited from possessing, purchasing or owning a firearm under state law.11 Licensed dealers must maintain records of the background checks that are conducted for transfers between private parties.12 Failure or refusal by the dealer to facilitate the transfer of a firearm pursuant to these procedures is adequate cause to suspend the dealer’s license for up to 30 days per occurrence.13 See the Private Sales in Delaware section for further information.

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 901. ⤴︎
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 902. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448A(a). ⤴︎
  5. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904(a). ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. As per the background check procedures outlined under Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448A. ⤴︎
  8. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904(b). ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. See Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b). ⤴︎
  11. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(1)-(3). ⤴︎
  12. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(4). ⤴︎
  13. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(b)(6).  No license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked unless the holder is given notice and an opportunity to be heard under the Administrative Procedures Act.  Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, § 904A(7). ⤴︎