Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2023 ‘Domestic Violence & Firearms in Delaware.’ Who Can Have a Gun. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 31 January
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]
Domestic Violence and Firearms in Delaware
Delaware has no law regarding the removal or surrender of firearms at the scene of a domestic violence incident.
Firearm Prohibitions for Domestic Violence Misdemeanants
Delaware prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of any firearm or ammunition by any person who has been convicted in any court of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. "Misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" means any misdemeanor offense that:
- Was committed by a: -Member of the victim's family (regardless, however, of the state of residence of the parties);
- Former spouse of the victim;
- Person who co-habited with the victim at the time of the offense; or
- Person with a child in common with the victim; and
- Is an offense specifically defined under the Delaware Code.
Unlike federal law, Delaware only prohibits firearm purchase or possession by domestic violence misdemeanants for five years following conviction.
Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Delaware prohibits the purchase, ownership, possession or control of any firearm or ammunition by any person subject to a Family Court protection from abuse order (other than an ex parte order), but only for so long as that order remains in effect or is not vacated or otherwise terminated.
Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Protective Orders Are Issued
Delaware authorizes, but does not require, courts to issue protective orders that direct the abuser to surrender all firearms in his or her possession. As part of a protective order, the court may order that the respondent temporarily relinquish all the firearms he or she owns to the sheriff, constable or a police officer, and may order that the respondent refrain from purchasing or receiving additional guns for the duration of the order.
Delaware courts issuing protective orders also may direct law enforcement to, forthwith, search for and seize a respondent's firearms upon a showing by the petitioner of the order that respondent has firearms in his or her possession, and:
- The petitioner can describe, with sufficient particularity, the type and location of the firearm or firearms; and
- Respondent has used or threatened to use a firearm against the petitioner, or the petitioner expresses a fear that the respondent may us a firearm against the petitioner…