Delaware Passes Assault Weapons Ban

June 21, 2022 by Eden Metzger
Delaware Passes Assault Weapons Ban

DOVER, Del. — A ban on sales of AR-15 rifles and other assault style weapons passed the Delaware Senate last week, by a 13-8 vote, with every Republican in the chamber voting no on the measure and all but one Democrat voting yes.

The bill will now move on to Gov. John Carney’s desk to be signed into law.

Two-hundred fifty-four mass shootings have occurred since 2009 claiming the lives of 1,536 Americans, according to Every Town for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group. This includes 362 children and teens, whose futures were stolen, devastating their families and communities. 

Assault rifles have been disproportionately used in these mass shootings.


These deadly weapons dramatically increase fatality rates; six times as many people are shot per incident. Delaware legislators addressed this crisis by passing this ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles. 

Legislators concluded that “assault-style weapons are exceptionally lethal weapons of war that have no place in civilian life.” 

Bill 450 states the “potential function as a sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings.” 


The bill lists deadly weapons including WASR-10 and AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles that were used in the shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, and Parkland. Florida. 

The bill does not address assault rifles previously purchased, however,  both the Delaware House and Senate passed a bill June 16 to prohibit the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, purchase, receipt, transfer or possession of an ammunition-feeding device with a capacity to accept more than 17 rounds of ammunition.

Legislators widely supported stricter background checks with House bill 423, which pinpoints criminal backgrounds using the Firearm Transaction Approval Program within the State Bureau of Identification. House bill 451 has divided support; this bill raises the legal age to own a firearm from 18 to 21. 

Concerns have been raised by some that the gun control measures being pushed through the state legislature in the wake of the latest mass shooting are unconstitutional.

The bills’ authors, however, took pains to try to explain that they have no intention of impinging on anyone’s 2nd amendment rights. For instance, the assault weapons ban bill states: “It is not, however, the intent of the Legislature by this chapter to place restrictions on the use of those weapons which are primarily designed and intended for hunting, target practice, or other legitimate sports or recreational activities.” 

Among those expressing approval for the state’s action on guns this weekend was longtime Delaware resident President Joe Biden. 


“In the decade after Congress passed the 1994 ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — with bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of law enforcement — mass shootings went down. But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. Those are the facts, and they should inspire us to action,” President Biden added. 

Eden can be reached at [email protected]

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