I’m Ben Schwartz,
This is another episode of Ten with Ben. Today we are going to answer a question from Ryan on YouTube, in response to one of our other videos. Ryan posted a question, he essentially said, “Hey Ben, I know you’re not a second amendment lawyer, but can you talk about gun laws in Delaware?” I thought about it and Ryan’s right. I’m a gun owner, I’m a Hunter, I really enjoy firearms and I believe in teaching your kids firearm safety and being responsible around guns. I’m really not a second amendment lawyer. We have second amendment lawyers that we have access to. If you need one we can get you one, but I’m not a second amendment guy. What I have done a lot of in my law practice is defend criminal cases. In fact, when I started practicing, I almost exclusively did court-appointed felony criminal defense and a lot of those cases involved guns. So, I was thinking about Ryan’s question and I was thinking what I really aught to do is a video on some of the ways you can get into trouble with a gun in Delaware, outside of Delaware, just about anywhere.
If you want to get in trouble, you want to get arrested and you’ve got a gun, here’s five ways to do it. If you are a gun owner, this is something that is worth thinking through, because this might save you from getting arrested. It might save you a lot of headache and a lot of heartache.
Ten with Ben: Episode 10 – Gun Laws in Delaware
- Taking your gun where you’re not supposed to have it. I have to tell you that it’s not always clear where you’re supposed to have a gun and where you’re not supposed to have a gun. In the United States, some states are open carry states and some states are not. Right now I’m in Delaware. Delaware is an open carry state. If I want to put my Glock in a holster on my hip, I certainly can do that. I can go to the grocery store and buy groceries with my firearm on my side, as long as it’s open and obvious for people to see. That is legal in Delaware, but there are places where you can’t take a gun. For example, you never want to take a gun, or try to take a gun, in to a courthouse. That is highly illegal. That’s going to get you arrested and charged with a crime, at least in Delaware and I suspect in most if not all states that’s going to get you arrested and charged with a crime. Interesting fact as I’m recording this video we just had a case come out not but two and a half months ago, come out of the Delaware Supreme Court, the name of the case was Bridgeville Rifle and Pistol Club v.. Small. It talked about whether the state of Delaware can prohibit people from bring firearms in to state parks and forests. The Delaware Supreme Court said, “No, you cannot prohibit Delaware citizens from having firearms in a state park, because under the Delaware Constitution they have a right to carry a firearm for their own protection and for hunting purposes.” Just an interesting tidbit, if you’re going to carry a firearm, whether it’s concealed or whether it’s open carry, you should think about where you’re going and then find out under the law in the state where you are, can you do that? Can you take the gun there?
- Transporting firearms and ammunition. I think that I have seen a good number of cases where people got arrested and charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon. What people do is, they have a firearm and they have ammunition. They might have them in the trunk of their car or in their glove compartment. They figure it’s out of sight, the guns not loaded, but the items are carried together. What you are doing by carrying your guns and your ammo together is you’re carrying concealed and if you don’t have a license to carry a concealed weapon, it could be a felony, so that is a good way to get arrested. You don’t want to carry those two things together.
- Displaying a firearm while doing something else. As I said, I’m in Delaware and Delaware is an open carry state, but what happens if you ask someone for a ride while you have your firearm in your holster. They see the firearm, they subjectively feel that you’re forcing them to give you a ride. What happens when they call the police and they say, “This guy forced himself into my car and he forced me to take him somewhere”? The police figure, well that sounds a whole lot like kidnapping and they arrest you for kidnapping. I have had this case. I have been to trial with a very similar case and I have to say that even if you have the right to open carry, you might want to think about what actions you’re taking while open carrying and how those actions could be construed. You never want to put yourself in a position where you have to explain yourself to the police, or worse, explain yourself to a jury in your felony criminal trial.
- Displaying your firearm inappropriately. You may be in a state where it’s open carry. You may have the right to display your firearm, but if you display your firearm in a manner to express displeasure with another person, you may find yourself in handcuffs. For example, what happens if someone cuts you off in traffic? What happens if someone is driving aggressively and you just show them your gun? If they call the police and say this nut was waving his gun around at me and I felt threatened. Guess what is going to happen? The police are going to probably arrest you and charge you with a crime.Then you are going to be calling a criminal defense lawyer. So don’t do it. If you are going to carry a firearm, make sure that you carry it in a responsible manner and don’t display it inappropriately.
- If you are lawfully in possession of a gun or firearm and you give that firearm to someone who is not permitted to have it, then you are subject to arrest and being charged and convicted of a crime. That is in every state. That is a federal law as well. So I would never give a gun to another person, unless you know that individual can clear a background check. That way you are not giving a gun to a felon. You are not giving a gun to someone who has been prohibited under the law of their state from owning or possessing a firearm.
Ryan, I hope these are some good tips to get you thinking. I hope this answers your question. If you are watching this video, I hope you found it informative, entertaining and interesting – most of all interesting. I hope that if you have questions about the law or my views on the law, I hope you will contact me by sending me email, or you can post a comment on this video as well. Let me know what you think. I want you to remember that the information I’m giving you in this video is not legal advice. If you have questions, if you need specific legal advice for a specific case, or a specific situation, then you need to get with an attorney and have a confidential consultation in the state where you live, where your arrest or your incident took place, and get solid legal advice.