Delaware has stronger gun laws than most states, earning a B in our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. In 2018, Delaware banned trigger activators such as bump stocks and passed an extreme risk protection order law, which facilitates the removal of guns from at-risk individuals. In 2017, Delaware had the 15th-lowest gun death rate among the states and supplied crime guns to other states at the 21st-highest rate. To further strengthen its gun laws, Delaware could require a license to purchase a firearm, direct funding to evidence-based, community-driven violence intervention strategies in underserved communities, and restrict undetectable and untraceable firearms (also known as ghost guns).
State Law Background
Among other things, Delaware:
- Requires a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties;
- Requires retail firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- Requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks and maintain records of the dealer’s employees (employees prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns are barred from selling firearms);
- Obligates gun owners to report the loss or theft of their firearms; and
- Prohibits domestic violence misdemeanants and persons subject to a domestic violence order of protection from purchasing or possessing firearms.
Delaware does not, however:
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- License firearm owners;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases; or
- Regulate unsafe handguns.
Local governments in Delaware also generally lack authority to regulate firearms and ammunition.
In 2017, Delaware had the 15th lowest gun death rate among the states, and 111 people died from firearm-related injuries that year. Delaware also supplied crime guns to other states at the 21st highest rate among the states, though the state imported roughly the same number of guns as it exported.