Legal Information: Delaware

State Gun Laws

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October 30, 2018

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Under Delaware state law, it is against the law for someone to buy, own, possess, or control a firearm (or ammunition) if:

  • s/he was convicted (in Delaware or elsewhere) of a felony or a crime of violence involving physical injury to another -- it doesn't matter if s/he had any weapon during crime;
  • s/he is a fugitive from justice from a case in which s/he is accused of a felony;
  • s/he was convicted in any court of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, as defined in Delaware law Title 11, Section 1448(a)(7);
  • s/he was convicted for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a narcotic, dangerous drug, central nervous system depressant or stimulant, or controlled substance;
  • as a juvenile, s/he was adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony (Note: The firearm prohibition will last until the person turns 25 years old);
  • s/he is subject to a Family Court protection from abuse order (but not an ex parte order) while the order remains in effect; (Note: This part of the law does not apply to an order issued based on sections (1)(d),(e), or (h) of Title 10, Section 1041);
  • s/he was involuntarily committed for a mental condition;
  • for a crime of violence, s/he was found (as an adult or a juvenile) to be:
    • not guilty by reason of insanity;
    • guilty but mentally ill;
    • mentally incompetent to stand trial;
  • s/he is subject to an order of relinquishment;
  • s/he is currently a juvenile (unless it is a handgun for the purpose of engaging in lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult); or
  • s/he is in possession of a semi-automatic or automatic firearm, or a handgun, while possessing a controlled substance at the same time.1

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if you have a restraining order against him/her that meets certain requirements or if s/he has been convicted of certain crimes. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 11 Del. Code § 1448(a)(1)-(9)