Open carry in the state of Delaware
By Joseph Parish
Most people do not realize that the state of Delaware is an open carry state when it comes to firearms. By this I mean that it is perfectly legal for a Delaware citizen to openly carry a handgun for self-defense and no license what-so-ever is required. A quick call to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office can readily confirm these facts.
You can take the liberty to check with law enforcement officers at all levels of the state and gather a variety of responses ranging from, “it is legal but we discourage it” to answers as to where you can not carry the weapon. Be prepared however for so many different attitudes towards carrying the weapon that it will likely surprise you. The general consensus with most of the agencies is that although it is legal it is not commonly done.
The problem stems from the fact that local ordinances may contradict those weapons laws established by the state legislature. Even though it is permitted in the state you won’t necessarily see an abundance of citizens rushing around with holsters on and their sidearm readily in view.
The Delaware State Constitution (Article I, §20) specifically states that every citizen in the state has a right to keep and bear arms. It goes on to say that this right is reserved for defense of the persons self, family, his home as well as the state of Delaware. These citizens may keep arms for both hunting and recreational use. As with most gun laws the established the minimum age for carrying an open weapon is 18 years old.
If you plan to carry your weapon in your vehicle make certain it is clearly visible and in the rear seat never in the front seat within hand grasp. My friend Wayne related an issue to me where an individual was stopped and apprehended merely as a result of driving by a school with a weapon in his vehicle. As I researched the issue I soon discovered that this was a result of the federal gun-free school law stating that only permit holders can carry weapons within 1000 yards of a school. This is clearly an issue that deserves the attention of our representatives in Dover.
Often one must ask why not just go out and get the CCDW license. Well, initially the high price of obtaining it is usually in the vicinity of $400 plus dollars. This is certainly a lot of food with the cost of groceries these days. Secondly, Delaware’s CCDW laws which are currently on the books which you “may” be issued a license. After spending all that money and time to get a license only to find out that you “may” get it is totally unacceptable. With all this in mind it is easy to see why people would choose the less expensive and trouble-free method of open carry.
Open carry is quite frequently done in our nearby state of Virginia in fact there are various groups of civilians which deliberately visit various restaurants in the state openly carrying their weapons in order to take advantage of their 2nd amendment rights. Another group does similar actions in the state of Louisiana as well.
If you are going to open carry be aware that you would certainly not wish to do it on the University of Delaware campus as there is a ruling against open carry and you can be expected to be detained by the campus security police at gun point. In addition you would certainly want to be careful going to the beach or walking on Rehoboth Avenue as you will likely scare the tourists and the locals will have you on the ground awaiting the police arrival.
As with any topic of this nature you should naturally check out all the facts personally even though I have attempted to make every effort to supply you with valid information.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish