Delaware prohibits any person from selling, transferring, purchasing, receiving or possessing a “destructive weapon,” including any machine gun or firearm that is adaptable for use as a machine gun.1 This prohibition does not apply to: 1) members of the U.S. military or a police force in Delaware duly authorized to carry a machine gun; or 2) persons possessing machine guns for scientific or experimental research and development purposes, which firearms have been duly registered under the National Firearms Act of 1968 (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.).2
Federal law generally allows the possession of machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered.
In 2018, Delaware prohibited any person from selling, transferring, purchasing, receiving or possessing bump stocks and trigger cranks, which are firearm accessories that can significantly increase its rate of fire to function similarly to a machine gun. In October, 2017, a shooter used multiple bump stock devices in an attack on concert-goers in Las Vegas to perpetrate the deadliest mass shooting attack in modern history.
Delaware defines a “bump stock” as “an after-market device that increases the rate of fire achievable with a semi-automatic rifle by using energy from the recoil of the weapon to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates repeated activation of the trigger.”3 It defines a “trigger crank” as “an after-market device designed and intended to be added to a semi-automatic rifle as a crank operated trigger actuator capable of triggering multiple shots with a single rotation of the crank.”4
See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.