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Gun rights group requests injunction to stop enforcement of assault weapons ban and magazine limits

Dozens of magazines turned in at Wednesday afternoon's buy-back in Camden.
Paul Kiefer
Delaware Public Media
A half-dozen people turned in dozens of magazines at a buy-back in Camden on Wednesday.

The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association asks a Federal District Court judge for an injunction to stop the enforcement of Delaware’s new assault weapons and high-capacity magazines ban just as the state begins its magazine buy-back program.

The Sportsmen’s Association initially challenged the constitutionality of the assault weapons ban in US District Court in July, adding an additional challenge to the magazine capacity limits in September.

The General Assembly budgeted $45,000 for a buy-back program to incentivize Delawareans to turn in high-capacity magazines – defined as any magazine that holds more than 17 rounds.

Gov. John Carney announced the buy-back program schedule in October, but Sportsmen’s Association President Jeff Hague argues the announcement was premature; the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security had until November 10 to finalize rules for compensating people who turn in magazines.

“The state was publishing the program dates and times before the regulation was in effect," he said. "They were assuming that the regulation was going to be approved and finalized by November 10.”

The District Court did not respond to the injunction request before the first buy-backs began on Wednesday.

At a Delaware State Police troop in Camden, a man named Anthony said he received roughly $350 for 16 magazines he turned in. He expects the program to net a sizable number of unwanted magazines.

“A lot of people that are really into the Second Amendment overbuy stuff because they’re really into shooting and then realize that they don’t need them," he said, "or that it would be better because they could use the money at the time.”

He adds turning the magazines in at buy-backs is preferable to selling them to criminal organizations that may not be concerned with the criminal penalties for possessing high-capacity magazines.

Another man brought more than 100 $5 magazines and received $15 for each, noting that because of a loophole in the program, he could feasibly buy cheap magazines online and turn them in for twice or three times the value.

Paul Kiefer comes to Delaware from Seattle, where he covered policing, prisons and public safety for the local news site PubliCola.