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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
- Must be a minimum of 18 years old to apply
- Must reside in Delaware
- Valid for 5 years, renewable by mail or in person
- Cost varies, but can run anywhere between $350-$600 after completing all the necessary steps (explained further in Process to Apply)
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm may open carry. No permit is required in this case.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed carry permit.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Delaware is a may issue state, meaning the law states that they may issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply – Residents
To get a concealed carry permit in Delaware, you are required to apply at your local county’s Prothonotary Office.
- Arrange with a newspaper in your county to publish your intent to apply for a Delaware concealed carry permit. This must be performed a minimum of 10 days before filing your application with the Prothonotary’s office. Once complete, obtain an affidavit from the newspaper company stating that this requirement has been met. You’ll need to attach the affidavit to your application. This cost varies typically between $20-$75.
- Note: See the Approved Newspaper Selection by County section below to find an approved newspaper in your county. The newspaper you pick must have a circulation of at least 35% of the population in your zip code.
- Note: You must use your whole name and your home address.
- Find 5 people in your county that can complete the reference questionnaire on your behalf. By completing the questionnaire, your references are essentially attesting that you have good moral character. These references need to fill out the form and return it to you to be included when you file the application.
- Note: Ensure everyone you ask to fill out your reference questionnaire is willing to speak POSITIVELY on your behalf. I’ve heard stories where references say that an applicant shouldn’t get a concealed carry permit. This can happen for several reasons, for example the reference might not agree with the 2nd amendment, or you might have done something to rub him/her the wrong way.
- (Optional) Complete an approved firearms training course that includes live fire. The exact course requirements are listed here. Check with your county Prothonotary office to ensure the course you take is approved. The cost varies typically between $200-$400.
- Note: This step is optional because it is not required prior to your application being approved. However, if you wish to receive your permit as soon as possible, complete a course ahead of time. Then, once your application is approved, you will receive your permit in the mail.
- Get fingerprints taken within 45 days of filing your concealed carry permit application so the state may conduct a criminal background investigation. Fingerprints must be taken by the State Bureau of Identification.
- Note: This will cost $65.
- Note: Find your local State Bureau of Identification office, including information and business hours for each, here.
- Go to your county’s Prothonotary Office to complete the application. The Prothonotary must notarize your application once complete. See the Prothonotary Offices by County section below to find your county’s office. Bring the following items:
- The affidavit from the newspaper that published your application. Make sure this states that the requirement has been met.
- Present your DE state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- Present a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Passport, Alien Registration number (with 90-day proof of residency), or other legal documentation that proves you are lawfully in the United States.
- Statutory filing fee: this fee is $65 and will cover the costs of processing your application. Pay in cash, or a check/money order made payable to “PROTHONOTARY“.
- 2 color photographs of yourself from the last 6 months. These should be passport style.
- Receipt of payment to the State Bureau of Identification to prove you have been fingerprinted for a criminal background check.
- (Optional) The original, notarized certificate of completion of a firearm training course. See step 3 above for why this is optional.
- After all paperwork and fingerprints have been submitted, you may be contacted by a representative of the Attorney General’s office for an interview.
- Unfortunately, there isn’t a legal required time for your application to be processed. Generally, the background check takes 6-8 weeks. After passing, the application goes to a Judge for review, which takes another 2-3 weeks. If approved, you will be notified shortly after the Judge makes his/her decision. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
- If your application was approved, complete a firearm training course that includes live fire within 90 days of approval. The cost varies typically between $200-$400.
- Note: The exact course requirements are listed here. Check with your county Prothonotary office to ensure the course you take is approved.
- Submit the original, notarized certificate of completion of the firearm training course to the Prothonotary office.
- Note: If you cannot complete a firearm training course within 90 days of approval, you need to at least enroll in a course. Once you enroll, submit proof of enrollment to the Prothonotary office, again within 90 days of receiving notice that your application has been approved.
- After your firearm training course certificate has been processed by the court, you will receive your concealed carry permit in the mail a short time later.
Approved Newspaper Selection by County
- Delaware State News
- Dover Post
- Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
- The Guide
- News Journal
- The Guide
- Morning Star Publications, Inc.
- Cape Gazette
- Coastal Point
- Independent Newspapers
- Delaware Wave
- Sussex Countian
- Milford Beacon
- News Journal
New Castle County
- Hockessin Community News (Approved Zip Code 19707)
- Middletown Transcript (Approved Zip Codes 19709, 19730, 19734)
- Newark Post (Approved Zip Codes 19711, 19713, 19701, 19702, 19716)
- New Castle Weekly (Approved Zip Codes 19720, 19701, 19702, 19706 (Delaware City Only)
All other Zip Codes in New Castle County must use the News Journal.
Prothonotary Offices by County
Kent County Prothonotary Office
38 The Green
Dover, DE 19901
414 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Contact Phone: (302) 735-1901
Sussex County Prothonotary Office
1 The Circle, Suite 2
Georgetown, DE 19947
Contact Phone: (302) 854-6959
New Castle County
New Castle County Prothonotary Office
500 N. King Street, Suite 1500
Wilmington, DE 19801-3704
Contact Phone: (302) 255-0690
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
If you meet any of the following conditions, your application is almost guaranteed to be denied:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of any misdemeanor involving physical injury to another, unless more than 5 years has elapsed from the date of the conviction.
- You were convicted as a juvenile of a crime which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, and you have not yet reached your 25th birthday.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- Police stations.
- Jails and other detention facilities.
- On any school property.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
- Wildlife management areas.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout DE
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have a DE or DE recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you do not possess a DE or DE recognized concealed carry permit, there are 2 scenarios in which you can transport a handgun through (from another state into DE) and throughout (within DE) the state:
1) Loaded – Open Carried
- You must legally possess the firearm.
- You must open carry the firearm – the firearm cannot be concealed.
- Keep the firearm in plain sight: i.e. on the passenger’s seat or on the dashboard.
- Do not keep a loaded firearm in the glove compartment, under your seat, under the passenger’s seat, in the center console, etc.
2) Unloaded – Stored Away
- You must legally possess the firearm.
- The firearm must be unloaded and secured.
- The firearm cannot be readily accessible by the driver or any passengers.
- The firearm must be stored someplace other than the glove compartment or passenger console.
- If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the glove compartment, the firearm and ammunition can be stored locked within a compartment/container that is securely affixed to the vehicle’s interior.
Additional Notes About DE Handgun Law
Does DE Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does DE Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
Sort of – DE incorporates a modified Castle Doctrine.
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
In DE, you are not protected under the modified Castle Doctrine if any of the following have occurred:
- The suspect is not on your property.
- You used deadly force on a suspect that was retreating from your home (i.e. you shot them in the back).
- Investigators find that the situation was not threatening.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does DE Recognize?
DE honors the concealed carry permit of another state so long as all of the following applies:
- The permit holder is 21 or older
- The state honors the DE concealed carry permit
Therefore, the colored map in the section below shows (1) states that recognize the DE concealed carry permit and (2) state concealed carry permits that DE recognizes.
**DE has additional stipulations on permits from North Dakota, South Dakota, and Idaho. In addition to the above requirements, only the specific permits mentioned below are honored:
- North Dakota Class 1 permit
- South Dakota Enhanced Permit
- Idaho Enhanced Permit
Go here for more information on reciprocity.
Reciprocity – Where is the DE Permit Recognized?
The DE concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:
- December 8, 2017 – State forests, state parks, and national forests removed from Location Restrictions for Carrying section per a recent Delaware supreme court ruling.
- February 16, 2018 – Correction to Reciprocity section – Delaware does in fact honor non-resident permits from the states they have reciprocity with.
- March 4, 2018 – Delaware now specifies that anyone of ‘full age’ can apply for a concealed carry permit – full age is defined as 18 years old.