Case Information: Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club v. Small, No. 15, 2017 (Delaware Supreme Court brief filed May 5, 2017).
At Issue: This case involves a challenge to firearm restrictions adopted by the Delaware agencies that oversee the state’s public parks and forests. Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit claiming that the agencies’ regulations violate the right to bear arms afforded by the Delaware constitution. They are seeking a court ruling forcing the agencies to allow concealed carry in the parks and forests they oversee. The lower court rejected plaintiffs’ constitutional challenge, and the case is now on appeal before the Delaware Supreme Court.
The Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that public recreational areas have long been considered sensitive places properly subject to increased regulation. We explain that Delaware agencies have a legitimate need to protect the safety of visitors to public parks and forests, including families with children, by prohibiting concealed carry. Further, we summarize the latest reputable research on the connection between carrying guns in public and crime, which overwhelmingly shows that relaxing concealed carry laws leads to more violent crime. No credible data supports the fanciful hypothesis, advanced by gun lobby lawyers and by a group of discredited researchers, that concealed carry has a crime-deterring effect.