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Delaware Gun Control Laws

State gun control laws regulate the purchase and use of firearms and can vary from state to state. Certain weapons, such as sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and silencers are prohibited under Delaware's gun control laws. The state imposes no waiting period for prospective gun buyers, but they must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for gun ownership.

Not all states treat firearm laws the same way. The main provisions of Delaware's gun control laws are listed in the table below.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

It's illegal to own the following firearms in Delaware:
  • Firearm silencers
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Machine guns
  • Any other firearm which is adaptable for use as a machine gun
  • Weapons compressed by air or spring that discharge pellets, slugs, or bullets (except B.B. or airgun)

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to possess a gun in Delaware.

Who May Not Own

The following people are prohibited from owning a firearm:
  • A person convicted of felony or crime of violence involving physical injury to another, whether or not having in their possession any weapon during the commission of such crime;
  • Anyone ever committed for a mental disorder to hospital, sanitarium, or mental institution;
  • A person convicted of unlawful use, possession, or sale of a narcotic or dangerous drug;
  • A person under 25 years old who was adjudicated as delinquent for conduct that would constitute a felony if committed by an adult;
  • A juvenile, but only for handguns that are not being used for recreational use while under adult supervision;
  • Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor for a crime of domestic violence; and
  • Anyone who is subject to a Protective Order.

License Required?

A license is not required to purchase firearms in Delaware.

Concealed Carry License Required?

  • Residents: Need to obtain a Concealed Deadly Weapon License (CDWL).
  • Non-residents: Need a CCW permit from a state Delaware recognizes. The attorney general may also issue a temporary non-residents CCW permit to people working in the state.

Open Carried Allowed?

Yes, anyone over 18 who can legally possess a gun can open carry. Delaware prohibits open carry in some areas, such as schools.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To qualify for a concealed carry license, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Show good moral character
  • Complete a firearms training course that includes live-fire shooting exercises
  • Show five references from residents of your county that attest to your "age, sobriety and good moral character"
  • Publish your application in a local newspaper 10 days before filing your application

Machine Gun Laws

It's illegal to sell, transfer, or buy machine guns in Delaware.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a license is a class D felony punishable by up to 8 years imprisonment.
  • Possessing a destructive weapon is a class E felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment.
  • Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is a class D felony punishable by up to 8 years imprisonment.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon in a Safe School and Recreation Zone carries increased punishments. If the underlying offense is a class E, F, or G felony, the crime will be one grade higher than the offense normally would be. The maximum penalty is a class D felony punishable by up to 8 years imprisonment.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Delaware Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Talk to an Attorney About Delaware Gun Control Laws

State and federal firearms regulations can be confusing, especially when they overlap. If you have a criminal or civil case involving guns, or if you would like legal assistance to know your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner in Delaware, you can consult with an experienced Delaware attorney in your area.

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