Delaware Gun Law Summary

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No
  • Registration of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No
  • Permit to purchase handgun? No
  • Registration of handguns? No 
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No
  • Permit to carry handguns? No unless concealed.


No permit is required to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. Purchasers of rifles and shotguns must be 18 years old.

Handgun purchasers must be 21 years old.

Prior to purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer, a criminal history record check is required. Purchases of shotguns and antique firearms (or replicas of antiques) are exempted from the background check requirement, as are purchases by holders of valid concealed carry permits.

Persons prohibited from possessing firearms are prohibited from purchasing firearms.


There is no state licensing requirement for the possession of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. No person may manufacture, sell, receive, or possess a sawed-off shotgun with one or more barrels of less than 18 inch in length, or an overall length of less than 26 inches.

The following persons are prohibited from purchasing or possessing any firearm:

  • Convicted felons.
  • Those convicted of a crime of violence involving bodily injury to another, including misdemeanors, but the prohibition shall not apply after five years from the date of conviction for misdemeanors.
  • Those convicted of an offense involving a narcotic, dangerous drug, or controlled substance.
  • Those who have ever been committed to a mental institution, sanitarium or hospital for mental disorder and do not possess a certificate of rehabilitation.
  • Children under 16 years of age, unless under the direct supervision of an adult.
  • A person adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, unless and until that person has reached age 25.
    • It is a felony to knowingly give a firearm to a person prohibited from possessing a firearm. It is a felony to purchase a firearm on behalf of a person prohibited from possessing a firearm, or to purchase with the intent to transfer, give, or sell a firearm to a person prohibited from possessing it.
    • It is unlawful for a parent to permit his or her child under 16 years of age to possess a firearm (whether operable or inoperable) or air or BB gun except under the direct supervision of an adult.
    • It is a misdemeanor for anyone to possess any air gun or spring-fired gun firing or projecting anything larger than a BB shot.


    • It is unlawful for any person except a law enforcement officer to carry any loaded or unloaded firearm concealed upon or about his person without a license to carry.
    • Handguns may be carried in open view, or in an inaccessible area like the trunk of an automobile.
    • Rifles and shotguns must be unloaded while being carried in or on any vehicle, farm machinery, motorboat while under power, or sailboat while under power.
    • Application for a license to carry must be filed with the Prothonotary of the Superior Court in the county of residence at least 15 days before the then next term of court. The initial license is valid for two years.
    • The applicant must supply a certificate signed by five "respectable" citizens of the district in which the applicant resides, stating that the applicant is a person of full age (21), sobriety and good moral character, that he bears a good reputation for peace and good order, and that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by the applicant is necessary for his protection, property or both.
    • The certificate must be signed with the proper signatures and in the proper handwriting of each respectable citizen. The court, at its discretion, may approve the application.
    • A current holder of a license to carry, may, on or before the expiration date, without further application or additional requirements, renew license for a further period of three years by paying to the Prothonotary the license tax and fee, and upon filing with the Prothonotary an affidavit setting forth that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon possesses all the requirements for the issuance of a license.
    • A person may make license renewals every three years thereafter, however, the Superior Court upon good cause presented to it may deny it for good cause shown.

    Miscellaneous Provisions:

    • Municipal governments shall enact no law restricting or licensing ownership, transfer, possession, or transportation of firearms or ammunition.
    • It is a felony to knowingly transport or possess any firearm manufactured after 1973 on which the serial number has been altered or obliterated.
    • It is unlawful to shoot across a road or within 15 yards of a road, or within 100 yards of an occupied building or barn or “other building used in connection therewith.”
    • It is unlawful to recklessly or negligently leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a person under 18 and where such person obtains the firearm and uses it to inflict serious physical injury or death upon himself or any other person.
    • However, it is an affirmative defense that:

        1. The firearm was stored in a locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure from access to a minor.

        2. The minor obtained the firearm as the result of an unlawful entry by any person.

        3. Or the serious physical injuries or death to the minor or any other person resulted from a target or sport shooting accident or hunting accident.

    See Also:
    National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action