Delaware Gun Law

The following is an overview of Delaware’s Gun  Laws.
It is not complete and may not reflect recent changes or updates for current law.

  • Delaware law classifies a “firearm” as any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable, loaded or unloaded.
    BB guns are not classified as “firearms’.
  • In Delaware, You must be at least 18 to be able to purchase rifles and shotguns and 21 for handguns.
  • Does Delaware have ammunition restrictions?
    No state laws, however, the City of Wilmington prohibits armor-piercing ammunition.
  • Possession of a deadly weapon, with or without a permit or license to carry such weapon concealed, by a person prohibited from doing so is a felony in Delaware.
  • Delaware law prohibits the possession of silencers, sawed-off shotguns and machine guns under all circumstances.

The following persons are prohibited from possessing deadly weapons or ammunition in Delaware:

  • Any person previously convicted of any felony
  • Any person previously convicted of any misdemeanor involving physical injury to another or domestic violence, unless more than 5 years has elapsed from the date of the conviction
  • Any person previously convicted of any crime involving the unlawful use, possession or sale of any illegal drug
  • Any person who has not yet reached his or her 25th birthday who has been previously convicted as a juvenile of a crime which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony
  • Any person who is subject to a Protection From Abuse Order issued by a competent court
  • Any person who has previously been committed to a hospital or mental institution for treatment for a mental disorder

General Restrictions

Individuals that are barred from possessing firearms are those who have felony convictions. This also extends to misdemeanor violent offenses, along with all convictions that include narcotics and controlled substances.

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

To purchase rifles and shotguns, you must be at least 18 years of age, while for purchase of a handgun, the individual must be at least 21 years of age.

. The only place where you are allowed to purchase a firearm without a background check would be a gun show and you would not need a background check to buy antique guns.

Background Checks

In the state of Delaware a buyer of a firearm is subject to a mandatory criminal background check. An adult-record check is also required.

Delaware DOES require background checks at gun shows.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

  • If a mental health professional deems that a person is a danger to themselves or to others, the police may get a court order to temporarily seize that person’s firearms. (House Bill 302, 2018)
  • If the patient of a mental health professional makes an explicit or imminent threat to kill or injure someone, the professional must report this to the police. If the police verify that the person is a risk to themselves or to others, they may get an order from a judge to seize the person’s firearms for up to 30 days. The Delaware Department of Justice can also request that this period be extended.

Private Gun Sales

Private party transfers of firearms to persons other than family members must be conducted though a licensed dealer, who is required by federal law to conduct a background check and keep a record of the sale. A transfer to a person who possesses a valid License to Carry a Concealed Deadly Weapon is exempt from this requirement.

Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and informational purposes only. Laws and rules may have changed since this page was last updated.

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