Delaware: General Assembly Adjourns from 2024 Regular Session

Gun Rights

Yesterday, the Delaware General Assembly adjourned the 2024 legislative session. The anti-gun legislature passed a Maryland-style permit-to-purchase scheme and new restrictions on the right to carry on university and college campuses. An expansion of the state’s existing red flag law was introduced but stalled in the House. Below is a list of legislation on which NRA-ILA worked with pro-Second Amendment lawmakers, grassroots activists, and our state affiliate, the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association.

SB 2 requires citizens to obtain a deceptively named “handgun qualified purchaser permit” to purchase or receive a handgun, with an exemption for carry permit holders. To obtain a permit, an applicant is required to, at their own expense, take an approved training course and submit fingerprints. The permits will be renewed every two years, although the training course is valid for five years. The State Bureau of Identification has up to 30 days to issue a permit. Additionally, this legislation creates a registry of all lawful handgun transfers. This bill was amended to increase the time for which a permit-to-purchase is valid, from one to two years. This legislation was signed into law on May 16th and is in effect.

HB 311 restricts firearms on college campuses and college-owned properties, even for concealed carry permit holders. This legislation could lead to confusion among concealed carry permit holders who may not realize they are on property owned by a college or university. HB 311 adds all colleges and universities to the Safe School Zone criminal offense so that any person who knowingly possesses a firearm while in or on a college or university campus or property may be charged with an additional offense. This bill was amended to reduce the penalty for a first offense from a Class E felony to a Class A misdemeanor. This legislation is awaiting action from the Governor and will go into effect upon being signed into law.

HB 380 would have expanded the existing red flag laws. This bill eliminates mental health professionals’ involvement at the beginning of the process. Additionally, the time within which a hearing is required to be held is extended from 15 days after the DOJ’s filing of a petition to 30 days. An ex parte emergency order issued by the JP Court will continue in effect during these time periods. This bill failed to pass.

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HB 357 creates a more limited definition of “firearm” that is consistent with the common understanding of the term and removes items such as airsoft guns. This legislation is awaiting action from the Governor and will go into effect on February 1, 2025 upon being signed into law.

NRA will be back in Dover for the 2025 session. Meanwhile, please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on issues affecting our Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage in Delaware.

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