It seems like the right to bear arms has been in the news nonstop in recent years. While some legislators hope to push for national laws, it’s the states that create most ownership and carry laws within their jurisdictions. If you’re a Delaware citizen or visiting the state, you may wonder what rights you have. With more than one-third of our state’s citizens having at least one gun in their homes, this is not an uncommon question. So, is Delaware a constitutional carry state? The answer is complicated.
What Is Constitutional Carry?
Constitutional carry signifies that a state doesn’t prohibit individuals from carrying firearms on their person. In such a state, no permit is required to do this. As long as you’re legally able to own a gun, you are within your rights to carry it while out in public. Some states grant an individual the right to carry firearms in certain areas without a permit (e.g., private vehicles, place of employment), but this doesn’t necessarily equate to constitutional carry since there may be other restrictions.
Pure Constitutional carry means that individuals can open carry their weapons or conceal them. There are certain instances, however, where conditional constitutional carry exists. For instance, many states allow those who can legally own firearms to open carry their weapons — but they may require a permit for an individual to conceal carry their gun. It’s important to understand these laws even if you’re only traveling through a jurisdiction. You could easily go from “within your rights” to “breaking the law” just by crossing a state border.
Is Constitutional Carry Legal in Delaware?
When we said that constitutional carry in Delaware is complicated, it’s because our state’s system is conditional. While you are well within your rights to open carry inside state borders, you’ll need to have a permit if you’re hoping to conceal carry. This is true for non-residents in the state as well. As long as you’re legally allowed to own a firearm in Delaware, your residency status does not affect your rights to open carry.
Concealed carry is where things can get more complicated for non-residents. If you’re from a state which issues permits that Delaware honors, you’re within your rights to conceal carry. Even if you don’t have such a permit, however, it is possible to get a temporary concealed carry license from the state Attorney General. In essence, Delaware is a Constitutional carry state that recognizes the rights of firearm owners — but they do so with some common conditions.
Can I Be Arrested for Carrying a Firearm in Delaware?
If you’re not allowed to carry a firearm in Delaware — or if you conceal carry without a permit — it’s very possible that you could be arrested. Additionally, even someone legally carrying can face Delaware gun crime charges if they’re arrested for an unrelated matter while in possession of their firearm. Although some folks may disagree with not having permitless concealed carry in the state, everyone recognizes the importance of certain charges if a gun is involved in a crime.
Unfortunately, it’s possible to be arrested and even charged when you have broken no law. It’s not even necessary for police to believe you’ve committed a crime that’s actually on the books in Delaware. That’s because many studies have found that police officers often don’t fully understand the laws within their own jurisdictions. This can lead to wrongful arrests that stain a person’s reputation even after charges are dropped.
Constitutional carry in Delaware is legal, but that doesn’t always mean you won’t face criminal prosecution. If you’ve been falsely accused or wrongfully arrested, contact our law firm today for a free consultation.