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Court of Chancery dismisses request for injunction to block age restrictions for gun ownership

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Delaware’s Court of Chancery dismissed a challenge to the new state law prohibiting most people under the age of 21 from purchasing or owning a firearm.

In dismissing the Delaware Sportsmen's Association’s lawsuit, which asked the court to place a permanent injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing the new law, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock asserts the Court of Chancery doesn’t have jurisdiction to impose such an injunction.

Chancery Court only has jurisdiction when there is no legal remedy for a complaint. In Glasscock’s view, the Delaware Sportsmen’s Association request for a permanent injunction assumes state agencies would continue to enforce the restrictions on gun ownership for people under 21 even if a Superior Court or Delaware Supreme Court decision ruled the restrictions unconstitutional. Glasscock called that premise “absurd.”

Granting that injunction, Glasscock writes, would overstep Chancery Court’s jurisdiction. He also notes that he dismissed a similar request in a gun rights case filed by the same plaintiffs less than a decade ago – a dismissal in which he cited the same jurisdictional limitations.

Glasscock did, however, leave the door open for the plaintiffs to transfer their suit to Superior Court.

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