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Legal Statutes: Delaware

UPDATED April 12, 2017

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Subpart E. Offenses Involving Deadly Weapons and Dangerous Instruments

back to top§ 1448. Possession and purchase of deadly weapons by persons prohibited; penalties

(a) Except as otherwise provided herein, the following persons are prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a deadly weapon or ammunition for a firearm within the State:

(1) Any person having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of a felony or a crime of violence involving physical injury to another, whether or not armed with or having in possession any weapon during the commission of such felony or crime of violence;

(2) Any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, unless such person can demonstrate that he or she is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to § 1448A of this title;

(3) Any person who has been convicted for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a narcotic, dangerous drug or central nervous system depressant or stimulant as those terms were defined prior to the effective date of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act in June 1973 or of a narcotic drug or controlled substance as defined in Chapter 47 of Title 16;

(4) Any person who, as a juvenile, has been adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, unless and until that person has reached their 25th birthday;

(5) Any juvenile, if said deadly weapon is a handgun, unless said juvenile possesses said handgun for the purpose of engaging in lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult. For the purpose of this subsection, a handgun shall be defined as any pistol, revolver or other firearm designed to be readily capable of being fired when held in 1 hand;

(6) Any person who is subject to a Family Court protection from abuse order (other than an ex parte order), but only for so long as that order remains in effect or is not vacated or otherwise terminated, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a contested order issued solely upon § 1041(1)d., e., or h. of Title 10, or any combination thereof;

(7) Any person who has been convicted in any court of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means any misdemeanor offense that:

a. Was committed by a member of the victim's family, as “family” is defined in § 901(12) of Title 10 (regardless, however, of the state of residence of the parties); by a former spouse of the victim; by a person who cohabitated with the victim at the time of the offense; or by a person with a child in common with the victim; and

b. Is an offense as defined under § 601, § 602, § 603, § 611, § 614, § 621, § 625, § 628A, § 763, § 765, § 766, § 767, § 781, § 785 or § 791 of this title, or any similar offense when committed or prosecuted in another jurisdiction; or

(8) Any person who, knowing that he or she is the defendant or co-defendant in any criminal case in which that person is alleged to have committed any felony under the laws of this State, the United States or any other state or territory of the United States, becomes a fugitive from justice by failing to appear for any scheduled court proceeding pertaining to such felony for which proper notice was provided or attempted. It is no defense to a prosecution under this paragraph that the person did not receive notice of the scheduled court proceeding.

(9) Any person, if the deadly weapon is a semi-automatic or automatic firearm, or a handgun, who, at the same time, possesses a controlled substance in violation of § 4763, or § 4764 of Title 16.

(10) Except for ‘‘antique firearms’’, any validly seized deadly weapons or ammunition from a person prohibited as a result of a felony conviction under Delaware law, federal law or the laws of any other state, or as otherwise prohibited under this subsection (a) of this section may be disposed of by the law enforcement agency holding the weapon or ammunition, pursuant to § 2311 of this title.

a. ‘‘Antique firearm’’ means any firearm not designed or redesigned for using rim fire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed ammunition and manufactured in or before 1898 and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1898, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily restored to a firing condition.

b. A person prohibited under this section has the burden of proving that the subject firearm is an antique firearm as defined in paragraph (a)(10)a. of this section subject to an exemption under this section and § 2311 of this title.

(b) Any prohibited person as set forth in subsection (a) of this section who knowingly possesses, purchases, owns or controls a deadly weapon or ammunition for a firearm while so prohibited shall be guilty of possession of a deadly weapon or ammunition for a firearm by a person prohibited.

(c) Possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited is a class F felony, unless said deadly weapon is a firearm or ammunition for a firearm, and the violation is 1 of paragraphs (a)(1)-(8) of this section, in which case it is a class D felony, or unless the person is eligible for sentencing pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, in which case it is a class C felony. As used herein, the word “ammunition” shall mean 1 or more rounds of fixed ammunition designed for use in and capable of being fired from a pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle but shall not mean inert rounds or expended shells, hulls or casings.

(d) Any person who is a prohibited person solely as the result of a conviction for an offense which is not a felony shall not be prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a deadly weapon or ammunition for a firearm if 5 years have elapsed from the date of conviction.

(e)(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or Code to the contrary, any person who is a prohibited person as described in this section and who knowingly possesses, purchases, owns or controls a firearm or destructive weapon while so prohibited shall receive a minimum sentence of:

a. Three years at Level V, if the person has previously been convicted of a violent felony;

b. Five years at Level V, if the person does so within 10 years of the date of conviction for any violent felony or the date of termination of all periods of incarceration or confinement imposed pursuant to said conviction, whichever is the later date; or

c. Ten years at Level V, if the person has been convicted on 2 or more separate occasions of any violent felony.

(2) Any person who is a prohibited person as described in this section because of a conviction for a violent felony and who, while in possession or control of a firearm in violation of this section, negligently causes serious physical injury to or the death of another person through the use of such firearm, shall be guilty of a class B felony and shall receive a minimum sentence of:

a. Four years at Level V; or

b. Six years at Level V, if the person causes such injury or death within 10 years of the date of conviction for any violent felony or the date of termination of all periods of incarceration or confinement imposed pursuant to said conviction, whichever is the later date; or

c. Ten years at Level V, if the person has been convicted on 2 or more separate occasions of any violent felony.

d. Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to be a related or included offense of any other provision of this Code. Nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to preclude prosecution or sentencing under any other provision of this Code nor shall this paragraph be deemed to repeal any other provision of this Code.

(3) Any sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to the provisions of § 4215 of this title. For the purposes of this subsection, “violent felony” means any felony so designated by § 4201(c) of this title, or any offense set forth under the laws of the United States, any other state or any territory of the United States which is the same as or equivalent to any of the offenses designated as a violent felony by § 4201(c) of this title.

(4) Any sentence imposed for a violation of this subsection shall not be subject to suspension and no person convicted for a violation of this subsection shall be eligible for good time, parole or probation during the period of the sentence imposed.

(f)(1) Upon conviction, any person who is a prohibited person as described in paragraph (a)(5) of this section and who is 14 years of age or older shall, for a first offense, receive a minimum sentence of 6 months of Level V incarceration, and shall receive a minimum sentence of 1 year of Level V incarceration for a second and subsequent offense, which shall not be subject to suspension. Any sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to §§ 4205(b) and 4215 of this title.

(2) The penalties prescribed by this subsection and subsection (g) of this section shall be imposed regardless of whether or not the juvenile is determined to be amenable to the rehabilitative process of the Family Court pursuant to § 1010(c) of Title 10 or any successor statute.

(g) In addition to the penalties set forth in subsection (f) of this section herein, a person who is a prohibited person as described in paragraph (a)(5) of this section and who is 14 years of age or older shall, upon conviction of a first offense, be required to view a film and/or slide presentation depicting the damage and destruction inflicted upon the human body by a projectile fired from a gun, and shall be required to meet with, separately or as part of a group, a victim of a violent crime, or with the family of a deceased victim of a violent crime. The Division of Youth Rehabilitative Service, with the cooperation of the Division of Forensic Science and the Violent Crimes Compensation Board, shall be responsible for the implementation of this subsection.
58 Laws 1972, ch. 497, § 1; 67 Laws 1989, ch. 130, § 8; 68 Laws 1992, ch. 422, § 1; 69 Laws 1994, ch. 313, §§ 1, 2; 69 Laws 1994, ch. 441, § 1; 70 Laws 1995, ch. 186, § 1, eff. July 10, 1995; 71 Laws 1998, ch. 230, §§ 1 to 5, eff. Feb. 5, 1998; 71 Laws 1998 ch. 358, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 2, 1998; 72 Laws 1999, ch. 61, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 24, 1999; 74 Laws 2003, ch. 106, § 7, eff. June 30, 2003; 75 Laws 2005, ch. 78, § 1, eff. June 30, 2005; 76 Laws 2007, ch. 99, § 1, eff. July 5, 2007; 76 Laws 2007, ch. 101, §§ 1-5, eff. July 5, 2007; 78 Laws 2011, ch. 13, §§ 5, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2011; 78 Laws 2011, ch. 135, §§ 6-8, eff. July 13, 2011; 78 Laws 2011, ch. 137, § 5, eff. June 30, 2012; 78 Laws 2011, ch. 168, § 6, eff. Aug. 3, 2011; 79 Laws 2013, ch. 124, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 18, 2013; 79 Laws 2014, ch. 188, § 1, eff. Jan. 30, 2014; 79 Laws 2014, ch. 265, § 10, eff. July 4, 2014.