Delaware is a may-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the county level by the prothonotary office. The Attorney General has the discretion to issue temporary concealed weapons licenses to any non-resident whom the Attorney General determines has a short-term need to carry such a weapon in conjunction with that individual’s employment for the protection of person or property.
There is no permit required to purchase firearms nor is firearms registration required in the state of Delaware. Private-party transfers of firearms to persons other than family members must be conducted through a licensed dealer, who is required by federal law to conduct a background check and keep a record of the sale. A transfer to a person who possesses a valid Delaware Concealed Deadly Weapon License (CDWL) is exempt from this requirement.
Open carry is legal in Delaware for anyone that is over 18 who can legally possess a firearm. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and detention facilities.
Concealed carry is legal in Delaware for residents with a CDWL and non-residents with a CCW permit from a state that Delaware honors. CDWLs are primarily issued to residents, with the Attorney General able to issue temporary concealed weapons licenses to non-resident. A firearms training course that includes live-fire shooting exercises is required to obtain a permit. Applicants must obtain five references from residents of their county and then they must publish their application in a local newspaper 10 days before filing their application. The application is reviewed by the attorney general’s office and a court. The attorney general has the discretion to issue, on a limited basis, a temporary license to a non-resident whom the attorney general determines has a short-term necessity to carry such a weapon within Delaware, in conjunction with that individual’s employment, for the protection of person or property. In terms of reciprocity, Delaware recognizes permits issued by other states that honor Delaware licenses to carry concealed deadly weapons, afford a reasonably similar degree of protection as is provided by licensure in Delaware.
Use of Force in Self-Protection The use of force is justifiable when the defendant believes it is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting the defendant against the use of unlawful force, death, serious physical injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat.
Use of Force for the Protection of Other Persons The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when:
The defendant would have been justified in using such force to protect himself or herself;
The third person whom the defendant seeks to protect would have been justified in using such protective force; and
The defendant believes that intervention is necessary for the protection of the other person.
There is no duty to retreat unless the defendant knows it can be done in complete safety in the third person’s dwelling or place of work.
Use of Force for the Protection of Property The use of force is justifiable to protect property provided the defendant first requests the person to desist from interference with the property and when the defendant believes that such force is immediately necessary:
To prevent the commission of criminal trespass or burglary in a building or upon real property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts; or
To prevent entry upon real property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts; or
To prevent theft, criminal mischief, or any trespass or taking of tangible, movable property in the defendant’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the defendant acts.
The use of deadly force for the protection of property is justifiable only if the defendant believes that:
A person is attempting to dispossess the defendant of the defendant’s dwelling; or
The person is attempting to commit arson, burglary, robbery or felonious theft, or property destruction and either:
Had employed or threatened deadly force against or in the presence of the defendant; or
The defendant believed the use of force other than deadly force would expose the defendant, or another person in the defendant’s presence, to the reasonable likelihood of serious physical injury.
Civil Liability Where a person has used force for the protection of property and has not been convicted for any crime or offense connected with that use of force, such person shall not be liable for damages or be otherwise civilly liable to the one against whom such force was used.
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Delaware?
Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit in most of the state. Concealed carry is legal with a CDWL or a permit from a state that Delaware honors. However, they are illegal in New Castle County [Sec. 22.03.009], Wilmington [Ordinance 36-161] & Newark [Ordinance 31-5].
Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Delaware?
Yes, pepper spray is legal in Delaware, although it is illegal to use it while engaged in commission of any crime or to assault a law-enforcement officer while in the performance of the officer's duties.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Delaware?
Yes, with a Delaware Concealed Deadly Weapon License or a permit from a state that Delaware honors. Without a permit, a firearm must be transported in plain sight — such as on the dash or seat — but not in the glove box or any place it cannot be seen.
Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Delaware?
Yes, there is no statute making it illegal to concealed carry with a Delaware Concealed Deadly Weapon License or a permit from a state that Delaware honors, unless posted, and provided you are not under the influence.
Carry/Possess at a hotel?
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Delaware?
Delaware statutes don't specifically address firearms at hotels. Please note that each hotel develops their own policies and the individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?
Does Delaware have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Delaware? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
No. Not mentioned in state statutes.
Does Delaware have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
Yes. There is full state preemption of gun laws, except counties may regulate the discharge of firearms and may adopt ordinances regulating open carry in police stations and county buildings. Restricted areas must be posted. However, individuals with concealed carry permits can conceal carry in those areas.
Yes. Delaware has a red flag law. A family member of a person or a law enforcement officer may file a petition prohibiting and enjoining a person from controlling, owning, purchasing, possessing, having access to or receiving a firearm.
Does Delaware have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or drugs?
Not while under the influence of alcohol (BAC of 0.08 or greater) or drugs when in a public place. In addition, a person cannot be manifestly under the influence of alcohol or any illicit or recreational drug, as defined in Title 21 § 4177(c), or any other drug not administered or prescribed to be taken by a physician, to the degree that the person may be in danger or endanger other persons or property, or annoy persons in the vicinity.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does Delaware issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Yes, the attorney general can issue temporary permits on a limited basis.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does Delaware allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
No, however the information is available for law enforcement.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Delaware?
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales? Exceptions?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in Delaware? Are there exceptions?
Yes. Excluding the exemptions noted below, no unlicensed person shall sell or transfer any firearm to another unlicensed person without having conducted a criminal history background check through a licensed firearms dealer.
Transfer is defined as assigning, pledging, leasing, loaning, giving away or otherwise disposing of a firearm, but does not include, among other things:
The loan of a firearm for any lawful purpose, for a period of 14 days or less, by the owner of said firearm to a person known personally to him or her
A temporary transfer for any lawful purpose that occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm, provided that such temporary transfer shall not exceed 24 hours in duration
A transfer that occurs by operation of law or because of the death of a person for whom the prospective transferor is an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust created in a will
Exemptions include the following:
Transactions in which the potential purchaser or transferee is a parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, stepparent, legal guardian, grandparent, child, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepchild, grandchild, sibling, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, spouse or civil union partner of the seller or transferor
Transactions in which the potential purchaser or transferee holds a current and valid concealed carry permit issued by the Delaware Superior Court
Does my current Delaware concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Delaware?
Do handguns need to be registered in Delaware?
Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Delaware?
18 years old.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the following persons are prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a deadly weapon or ammunition for a firearm within the State:
(5) Any juvenile, if said deadly weapon is a handgun, unless said juvenile possesses said handgun for the purpose of engaging in lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult. For the purpose of this subsection, a "handgun" shall be defined as any pistol, revolver or other firearm designed to be readily capable of being fired when held in 1 hand.
A person is guilty of unlawfully dealing with a dangerous weapon when:
(4) The person sells, gives or otherwise transfers to a child under 18 years of age a firearm or ammunition for a firearm, unless the person is that child's parent or guardian, or unless the person first receives the permission of said parent or guardian;
Note: Although “juvenile” is not defined under Delaware law, state law notes that any person who attains age 18 is deemed to be of full legal age for “all purposes whatsoever.” Del. Code Ann. tit. 1, § 701.
Possess a handgun on my private property without a permit?
Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a permit?
No. A license to carry a concealed deadly weapon is not required for personal protection or the protection of the person’s property.
Delaware recognizes licenses or permits to carry concealed deadly weapons issued by other states that honor Delaware licenses to carry concealed deadly weapons, afford a reasonably similar degree of protection as is provided by licensure in Delaware, and do not evidence a pattern of issuing licenses or permits to convicted felons. Some states issue multiple levels of permits or licenses; only those meeting the above requirements will be recognized in Delaware. Delaware residents must have a Delaware Concealed Deadly Weapon License to carry in the state.
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Have 5 references from the county in which he or she resides. The references shall clearly state that the applicant is a person of full age, sobriety and good moral character, that the applicant bears a good reputation for peace and good order in the community in which the applicant resides, and that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by the applicant is necessary for the protection of the applicant or the applicant’s property or both;
Verify his or her application by oath or affirmation in writing before a state-authorized officer and state in writing that the applicant’s certificate and recommendations were read by its 5 signers and that the signatures are authentic;
Never have been convicted in Delaware or elsewhere of a felony or a crime of violence;
If under 25 years old, never have been, as a juvenile, adjudicated as delinquent for conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony;
Never have been convicted for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a narcotic, dangerous drug or central nervous system depressant or stimulant;
Not be subject to a Protection From Abuse Order issued by a court;
Never have been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium; and
The attorney general has the discretion to issue, on a limited basis, a temporary license to carry concealed a deadly weapon to any individual who is not a resident of the state and whom the attorney general determines has a short-term need to carry such a weapon within the state, in conjunction with that individual's employment, for the protection of person or property. No individual shall be issued more than 3 temporary licenses.
Write an informal letter to the court providing information regarding any change of name or address and attach a copy of your Driver’s License with the new name or address, two passport-style photos and the fee. Send it to:
Superior Court of Delaware - NCC 500 N. King Street, Suite 500 Wilmington, DE 19801
A new permit, reflecting the new name/address, will be sent to you in the mail.
Contact your local prothonotary office.
Moving to Delaware and interested in applying for a resident license? How soon can you apply? Delaware issues permits to residents only, although the Attorney General may issue temporary licenses to non-residents. You can apply for your license to the prothonotary office once you obtain a Delaware driver’s license.
Moving from Delaware and have a Delaware resident license? Does that license transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Delaware license remains valid? If a person with a Delaware concealed deadly weapon license establishes residency in another state, the license expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.
Delaware Concealed Carry Permit Application Process
How to Apply for a Delaware Concealed Carry Permit
Download and complete the application. You can take your training class before you submit your application or wait until your application is approved, at which point you have 90 days to submit your training certificate.
Arrange with a newspaper of general circulation in your county to have your application published once, at least 10 business days before the filing of your application with the court. Obtain an affidavit from the newspaper company stating that this requirement has been met and attach it to your application. PLEASE NOTE: Selected newspaper must have a circulation of at least 35 percent of the population in your zip code. Be sure to use your whole name — no initials — and your home address.
Arrange to be fingerprinted by the State Bureau of Identification (SBI) within 45 days of filing an application. Fingerprinting by appointment only. Call the SBI at (302) 739-2528 and you will be given the address of the Delaware State Police Troop to report to at the time you are given an appointment. You may want to verify payment methods at the time you schedule your interview.
Have the reference questionnaires completed by 5 citizens from the county in which you reside who are not related to you and who have known you for at least 1 year.
Take the completed and notarized application to the prothonotary office, or mail it to the prothonotary office in the county in which you reside. You will need to include the following:
The original set of fingerprints and a complete copy of all the documents;
Two passport-style photographs taken within the preceding 6-month period; and
The filing fee.
If your application is approved, you must now complete an approved gun course within 90 days. If you cannot complete the course within 90 days of the approval of your gun permit, submit proof that you have enrolled in the course.
Submit an original, notarized certification of satisfactory completion of the firearms training course. Please note that if a certification or proof of enrollment is not filed with the court within 90 days of the approval of your gun permit, they will assume you no longer want to obtain a gun permit. In order to obtain a gun permit, you will have to start the process over.
Renewal applications may be filed as early as January 2nd of the renewal year, but no later than June 1 of the year of license expiration. You must file the renewal application and a duplicate copy. You may hand deliver your application to the Prothonotary’s Office, or if all the requirements are met, mail to the Prothonotary’s Office in the County in which you reside.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
The Delaware Criminal Code §§ 1441A and 1441B describe the State implementation of LEOSA for LEOs and RLEOs. A qualified LEO or RLEO who is carrying the required identification may concealed carry provided the person has qualified in the use of a firearm during the most recent 12-month period. Firearm qualification is determined by the former agency of the individual, the state in which the individual resides or, if the state has not established such standards, either a law-enforcement agency within the state in which the individual resides or the standards used by a certified firearms instructor that is qualified to conduct a firearms qualification test for active duty officers within that state.
Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Delaware?
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted, and provided you are not under the influence.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? Without a permit, a firearm must be transported in plain sight — such as on the dash or seat — but not in the glove box or any place it cannot be seen. [Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1442]
Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Yes, except where posted.
Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Delaware?
Places off-limits even with a permit/license
Any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or real property owned, operated, leased or rented by any public or private school, including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary or vocational-technical school, or any college or university, or within 1,000 feet thereof [Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 1442];
Any motor vehicle owned, operated, leased or rented by any public or private school, including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary or vocational-technical school, or any college or university
Any building or structure owned, operated, leased or rented by any county or municipality, or the state, or any board, agency, commission, department, corporation or other entity thereof, or any private organization, which is utilized as a recreation center, athletic field or sports stadium;
Open carry of any legal knife is allowed without a permit. Concealed carry of folding knives with blades of not more than 3 inches is legal with a permit. Delaware prohibits knives in schools. There are a number of types of knives that are illegal in Delaware, including switchblades, gravity knives, knives with brass knuckles and knives that are undetectable by metal detectors.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Delaware, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
There is no known statute in Delaware making it illegal to wear a COVID mask while carrying concealed. A state statute was identified, making it illegal to wear masks, hoods or other garments rendering the wearers face unrecognizable, for the purpose of and in a manner likely to imminently subject any person to the deprivation of any rights.
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Delaware?
No. Although it is now legal to hunt deer with a handgun during any shotgun deer season, the handgun must be used in place of a shotgun. You cannot carry both in the field at the same time.
CARRY WHILE BOW HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while bow hunting in Delaware?
HUNTER HARASSMENT LAW?
Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Delaware?
Yes. No person shall willfully obstruct or impede the participation of any individual in the lawful taking of fish, crabs, oysters, clams or frogs; the lawful hunting of game birds or animals; or the lawful trapping of any game animals.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta DefenseCustomer Engagement Team.
Uncover the Backstory Free Book
Read the new book that reveals the little-known history of the US Concealed Carry Association.
Are You Born to Protect?
Get Your FREE USCCA Sticker! Enter your email below:
Your FREE book download is on its way to your inbox.
But the U.S. Concealed Carry Association is more than just a story…
We're the best resource to help responsible Americans keep their loved ones safe.