Delaware has relatively strong laws to disarm hate.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Delaware
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Some access||Very limited or no access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Very limited or no access||Some access||Very limited or no access|
Delaware’s hate crime law reclassifies the severity of offenses committed as hate crimes.1 Importantly, for the purposes of both Delaware and federal firearm laws, this law reclassifies crimes that are ordinarily designated as class A, B, or C misdemeanors as firearm-prohibiting felonies when they are hate crimes.2 Since Delaware law ordinarily classifies most violent criminal conduct as a Class C misdemeanor or higher, most of these offenses are reclassified as felonies when they are perpetrated as hate crimes.
Both Delaware and federal law generally prohibit people from accessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony,3 so people convicted of violent hate crimes are generally prohibited from accessing firearms in Delaware under both state and federal law.
There are a few exceptions however, including crimes like “offensive touching,”4 and “menacing,”5 which involves intentionally placing another person in fear of imminent physical injury. These offenses are both ordinarily treated as “unclassified” misdemeanors, so are not reclassified as felonies when they are perpetrated as hate crimes. As a result, they generally do not result in any firearm restriction under state or federal law.
More generally, Delaware also prohibits people from accessing firearms for five years after they have been convicted of a misdemeanor “crime of violence involving physical injury to another” person,6 so people convicted of some violent misdemeanors are temporarily restricted from accessing firearms in these circumstances, even if their conduct is not prosecuted as a hate crime.
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- Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1304.
- Id. “Unclassified” (lower-level) misdemeanors are also reclassified as Class A misdemeanors (punishable by up to one year in prison) when they are committed as hate crimes.
- Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a)(1).
- Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 601(a).
- See Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 602.
- Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a)(1), (d).