A recently enacted Delaware law that bans guns described as “assault weapons” violates the U.S. and state Constitutions, according to a new lawsuit.
Delaware House Bill 450 bans the sale and manufacture of dozens of guns labeled as assault weapons. It also forbids transporting such guns into the state.
Those who violate the law face a felony charge for each violation.
However, the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” and Article I, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution states, “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use,” which means that the new law is illegal, according to the suit, which was filed by the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, a National Rifle Association (NRA) affiliate; several gun clubs; the Delaware Association of Federal Firearms Licensees; and five individuals.
“Plaintiffs and their members have a constitutional right to make use of common firearms, deemed ‘assault weapons’ under the Regulatory Scheme, for effective self-defense and not to be disarmed by the Regulatory Scheme and its enforcement by Defendants,” the 92-page federal court filing reads.
In addition, state lawmakers ignored rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the Delaware Supreme Court that people’s right to self-defense includes the right to possess guns both inside and outside their homes, the plaintiffs say.
The passage of the new law amounts to defiance of “this established and unassailable authority,” they say.
Court Asked to Block Enforcement
“We promised our members and the people of Delaware that if HB 450 ever became law, we would challenge that law and today, we kept that promise,” Jeff Hague, president of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, said in a statement.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to block state officials from enforcing the law.