Delaware gun rights group challenges assault weapon sales ban in US District Court
The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association filed a lawsuit in US District Court Wednesday challenging Delaware’s new law prohibiting assault weapon sales.
Association President Jeff Hague says the restrictions conflict with both the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a 1986 amendment to the Delaware Constitution protecting the right to own and carry firearms.
“The basis is that it violates both the state and federal right to bear arms," he said. "Our amendment - or constitutional right - has been interpreted by the Delaware Supreme Court as being more expansive than the federal Second Amendment.”
The Association prevailed in previous lawsuits challenging state and local gun restrictions, including a Wilmington Housing Authority rule prohibiting residents from owning firearms.
Hague adds the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn New York’s may-issue concealed weapons permit law signals other state-level restrictions on gun sales and possession may be vulnerable.
“We thought that [the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decision] issued on June 23rd in New York that bolsters our case that this violates not only the Delaware constitution, but also the Second Amendment," he said.
Hague also notes the Supreme Court recently remanded a circuit court decision upholding Maryland’s ban on the sale of assault weapons – a model for Delaware’s new law – back to the lower courts for reconsideration.
The Association is not seeking an injunction or temporary restraining order on enforcement of Delaware’s new law; Hague expects the court to rule within a year.