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Delaware Conceal and Carry Laws
2/16/2008 5:42:00 PM

I'm in the middle applying for my Delaware Conceal and Carry License (concealed firearms license).  Since laws regarding concealed weapons can vary wildly between states, I wanted to do my homework before actually starting to carry.

I got a lot of conflicting information from many sources.  A particular point of concern was the "School Zone" question.  I had been told by several people (including my CCW instructor) that you were forbidden to carry a concealed weapon within 1000 feet of a school or college.  Needless to say, this concerned me quite a bit.  I live within 1000 feet of a school. I also work within 1000 feet of a school.  This "law" could put a severe cramp in my right to carry.

I started researching.  I am not a lawyer.  This does not constitute legal advice.

Here's what I've found:

  • There's a federal law, called the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990.  It has important exceptions built into it.  It does not apply to private property within the "radius".  Additionally, it provides a special exception for anyone with a "state issued permit".  This means that Delaware CCW holders are except.  This becomes important later.
  • There is a Delaware law, Possession of a weapon in a Safe School and Recreation Zone.  This law doesn't really introduce any new restrictions.  It just "amps up" the severity of the punishment, should you be convicted of another crime while on school grounds.  For example, the regular charge of Carrying a concealed deadly weapon "upgrades" from a class G felony to a class E felony.

My analysis:

If you have a Delaware (or Delaware-recognized) CCW permit, you can carry within the 1000 foot perimeter.  In fact, if you happen to be a college student (that happens to be of age to acquire a CCW) you could even legally carry on campus.  Furthermore, from my reading of the law, a teacher could legally carry while at work.

However:

Just because these are established as legal, that doesn't mean that it's permissible by the entity in question.  For example, the University of Delaware has a policy against weapons.  Legally speaking, they can expel / fire you.  That's their call.  It's their house and their rules.  However, that's a private matter.  It's not a crime.

The same is true of the teacher's example.  The hypothetical teacher could be fired for breaking policy, but not arrested.

Remember, this is a strict legal interpretation.  There are lots of "dumb" situations that you could cause, if you aren't careful.  Even with a CCW permit, you can't brandish your weapon.  Intimidation is still legally menacing.  Keep it legal; keep it concealed.

Final thoughts:

This isn't just my interpretation.  I've had two other individuals review my research.  Both of them agreed with my interpretation.  Both also commented on "keeping it out of sight", in order to avoid a menacing charge.

Both have requested that I not publish their names, as they don't want any liability pointed in their direction.  That's probably wise on their part.  Regardless, if either of you two are reading this: thanks for your help.

For that matter, I don't want any liability in my direction either.  This isn't legal advice, just my opinion on the law as it is written. 

If you would like more information about conceal and carry laws (in relation to colleges / universities), I recommend you check out Concealed Campus.  Concealed Campus is anon-profit "student's right to carry" advocacy group.

I hope this helps.