NRA Files Lawsuit Challenging New Delaware Permit to Purchase Law

by Vern Evans
delaware gun control

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Striking while the iron was hot, the National Rifle Association on May 19 filed a lawsuit challenging Delaware’s new law requiring a permit to purchase a firearm. The filing came on the very same day the measure was signed into law by Gov. John Carney.


NRA filed the lawsuit, Neuberger v. Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in the federal district court of Delaware on behalf of three individuals, the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association and the Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club.


At issue is the new law that requires Delaware residents to obtain a “Handgun Qualified Purchaser Permit” before purchasing a handgun. To obtain a permit, a person must—at his or her own expense—complete an 11-part training course, in addition to a number of other requirements.


According to NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, a permit is valid for only two years, and to qualify for a permit the applicant must have completed the training course within the prior five years. Additionally, the law has a confiscation component built in where if a person’s permit is revoked, the law instructs law enforcement to confiscate all handguns acquired with the permit.


The complaint points out a number of problems in the new law that cannot be rectified without the law being overturned.


“Not only is the amount of information the applicant must provide onerous, they also must attend a certified “firearms training course” with 11 different parts—one part more than the course required to obtain a CCDW permit in the State of Delaware,” the complaint states. “Another requirement is to fire at least 100 rounds of ammunition. The individual must also submit to fingerprinting and undergo a state and national background check. All of this at the applicant’s expense. Moreover, the state may delay another 30 days to approve or deny the application before a person is able to exercise an enshrined right in the U.S. Constitution.


“SS1 for SB 2 does not explain where the firearm used in these courses will come from if the applicants cannot purchase a handgun. The State appears to have overlooked that applicants would need to possess and own a handgun in order to complete the training courses SS1 for SB 2 mandates in order to possess and own a handgun.”


The complaint further argues that the law discriminates against poorer Delaware residents wishing to purchase a handgun.


“Further, the final form of SS 1 for SB 2 removed a firearms training course voucher program—in effect, leaving those without the financial means to pay for the required training without a way to purchase a handgun for self-defense,” the complaint stated. “Omission of a voucher program is one of several ways the State discriminates against economically disadvantaged Delawareans through SS 1 for SB 2.”

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