ILA | Delaware: Court Strikes Down Ban on Hunting with Semi-Autos


Today, the Delaware Superior Court issued its decision in the NRA-backed DSSA v. Garvin case, striking down the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) regulations that banned hunting deer with semi-automatic rifles.

Delaware law, and the DNREC, have traditionally allowed pistol-caliber rifles for deer hunting. In its 2020-2021 hunting regulations guide, DNREC suddenly banned semi-automatic pistol-caliber rifles for deer hunting. The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) filed this lawsuit, arguing that the agency did not have the authority to make such a change and that it did not follow proper procedures before doing so.

In the decision, the court says that DNREC does not understand the difference between full and semi-automatic firearms, and that the law does not ban hunting with semi-automatic firearms. The court also trashed DNREC for not knowing their own hunting regulations. DNREC claimed that regulations prohibited all semi-automatic firearms for hunting, while the regulations clearly allow them for fox and squirrel hunting. In addition, the court also ruled that any ban would have to be implemented in accordance with the Delaware Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how regulatory agencies can issue new regulations.

NRA congratulates DSSA on this victory and thanks the court for correcting this overstep by DNREC. Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates on issues affecting our hunting heritage.



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