Judge overturns regulations on guns in Delaware State Parks

Delaware Public Media – by Nick Ciolino

A Superior Court judge ruled against regulations on carrying guns in Delaware State Parks last week.

The Delaware Supreme Court declared a ban on non-hunting firearms in state parks and forests unconstitutional last year.  

DNREC responded with new regulations barring firearms in certain areas such as zoos, group camping grounds and swimming pools.

But Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark decided Thursday some of those regulations violate federal and state constitutions.

Thomas Schellenberger is a spokesperson for the Delaware State Sportsman’s Association—the group who sued to lift the initial ban.

“It’s just frustrating that we have to keep going to court to enforce the rights of Delawareans against our own government,” said Schellenberger. “So as opposed to doing cartwheels because we’re excited, we’re happy that our court saw it our way, but it’s frustrating we have to keep going back when the supreme court’s decision was pretty clear.”

Some of DNREC’s regulations held up, but restrictions on firearms in places designated as sensitive areas, like camping grounds, were ruled unconstitutional.

“One of the specific rights that’s recognized under our local constitutional provision is the right to protect your property and family,” said Schellenberger. “And if you’re camping you can’t do that, because you’re not allowed to have a firearm in these areas unless under the new regulations you have a concealed carry license.”

Another rule the court deemed unconstitutional required anyone with a concealed carry permit to notify state park employees they were carrying and produce their license to do so.

DNREC has 30 days from the decision to file an appeal. The agency says it is reviewing the court’s decision.


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