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Legal Information: Delaware

State Gun Laws

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Laws current as of
March 26, 2024

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 any state 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);
  • the person is the respondent on a family court protection from abuse order. However, if the protection order was issued only based on one or more of the following allegations, then it may not be illegal for the respondent to have a firearm:
    • engaging in a course of alarming or distressing conduct in a manner which is likely to cause fear or emotional distress or to provoke a violent or disorderly response;
    • trespassing on or in property of another person, or on or in property from which the trespasser has been excluded by court order;
    • any other conduct which a reasonable person under the circumstances would find threatening or harmful;
  • s/he was involuntarily committed for a mental condition;
  • for a crime of violence,as an adult or a juvenile, s/he was found 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 subject to a lethal violence protection order;
  • s/he is under age 21, although certain exceptions apply for lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult;
  • s/he is the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant, post-arrest charges, or an active indictment or information for any felony or for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; 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), (a)(11)-(12); 1041(1)(d), (1)(e), (1)(h)