Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).
So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.
Previous post: New York
Delaware basically ranks in the middle with gun control laws, gun violence and gun related death. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks their gun laws as a B, mostly likely because they do prevent domestic violence offenders from owning guns and do require all sellers (including private) to process background checks.
However, gun owners still have a lot of leeway. You don’t need a permit to purchase or possess, you can open carry, you don’t have to register your firearms or be licensed, and you can purchase as many firearms as you want without a waiting period.
Delaware has low real numbers of gun related deaths but is in the middle in per capita. It ranks 29th in gun related deaths, almost 70% of murders involve a firearm, and it ranks 23rd in the nation in crime gun exports. Despite its small population (just under one million people), it did see a mass shooting in 2015 that injured six people.
Delaware is an odd state. I would say on its own it doesn’t prove or disprove anything definitively. It’s pretty similar to New Hampshire in that they’re both small states, have pretty lax gun laws, and don’t see much crime. However, New Hampshire sees more gun related deaths per year than Delaware despite its looser gun laws. Does this mean that Delaware’s additional background checks and tighter regulations on domestic violence offenders made a difference?
I think that when you look at the states together, noting who does and doesn’t require what, you can start putting together interesting theories for the right amount of control. Delaware is trying to balance allowing its citizens easy access to firearms with enough safety regulations to protect them. I’m not quite sure that they’re doing as much as they can, but I do think universal background checks are a step in the right direction.