November 18th, 2022
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The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) this week filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Delaware’s new ban on so-called “assault weapons” on the grounds the legislation — House Bill 450 — violates the Second Amendment. The lawsuit is named Gray et. al. v. Jennings. Joining SAF in this legal action are the Firearms Policy Coalition, DJJAMS LLC (Delaware gun dealer), and two private citizens, Gabriel Gray and William Taylor. Named as a defendant is Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
The oppressive new Delaware statute, House Bill 450, lists dozens of firearms described generically as “assault long guns” and 19 handguns described as “assault pistols,” plus so-called “copycat” firearms. Those who acquire such arms or bring them into Delaware can be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by up to eight years in prison.
Among the listed banned rifles are popular semi-auto firearms used in Service Rifle and Vintage Sniper Team competitions: Springfield M1A, Colt AR-15, FN FAL, HK 91/93/94, Ruger Mini-14 (folding), SKS, Steyr AUG, Valmet M76/78 and dozens more. READ House Bill 450 Full Text (PDF)
Beyond the specific list of banned guns, House Bill 450 broadly outlaws any “Copycat Weapon”. This can include ANY semi-auto rifle with a pistol grip and flash suppressor (or folding stock). The prohibited “Copycat” firearms are defined as follows:
A. A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has any 2 of the following:
B. A semiautomatic centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 29 inches.
C. A semiautomatic shotgun that has a folding stock.
D. A shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
Delaware Statute Defies U.S. Supreme Court Decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen
“One week after the Supreme Court handed down its landmark Bruen decision in June”, noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, “Delaware Gov. John Carney signed House Bill 450, which we believe is clearly unconstitutional. Yet this new statute categorically bans the protected conduct of possessing, self-manufacturing, transporting, importing, selling, transferring, purchasing, receiving and lawfully using constitutionally protected arms that are in common use across the nation.”
“By adopting this statute after the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling, Delaware is clearly ignoring the court, and the Second Amendment”, noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This case cuts right to the heart of our mission, which is to defend the rights of gun owners by challenging egregious gun control laws in court.”
SYNOPSIS of HB450: The Delaware Lethal Firearms Safety Act of 2022 prohibits the manufacture, sale, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, receipt, possession, or transport of assault weapons in Delaware, subject to certain exceptions. One exception is that the Act does not prohibit the possession and transport of firearms that were lawfully possessed or purchased before the effective date of this Act; although for these firearms there are certain restrictions relating to their possession and transport after the effective date of this Act. There are also exceptions for law-enforcement and military personnel in the course of their official duties, and a limited exception for retired law-enforcement personnel. Finally, a person lawfully in possession of an assault weapon prior to the passage of this Act may lawfully transfer the weapon to a member of their family, through inheritance or otherwise.