I do not have an order of protection from abuse and the abuser has not been convicted of a crime. Can his/her gun be taken away?
Aside from it being illegal for people convicted of certain violent crimes or someone with an order of protection against him/her to have a gun, it is also illegal under Delaware state law for the following people to possess a deadly weapon (firearm, knife, or dangerous instrument):1
- any person who has been involuntarily committed for a mental condition;
- for a crime of violence, as an adult or a juvenile, any person who has been found to be:
- not guilty by reason of insanity;
- guilty but mentally ill;
- mentally incompetent to stand trial;
- any person who is subject to an order of relinquishment;
- anyone who is subject to a lethal violence protection order;
- anyone 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;
- anyone who knows that s/he is the defendant or co-defendant in a felony criminal case and has failed to appear for a court proceeding (a “fugitive from justice”);
- anyone who 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
- 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 (drug).1
If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Planning page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit the DE Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.
For additional information on gun laws in Delaware, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 11 Del. Code § 222(5)
2 11 Del. Code § 1448(a)(2)-(5), (a)(8)-(9), (a)(11)-(12)
I read through all of this information, and I'm still confused. What can I do?
Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing. There are people who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.
- You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
- You can contact us by writing to our Email Hotline.
- You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.