Unique Concealed Carry Permit Process in Delaware

I have been working on a summary of the course/training requirements for concealed carry permits across the United States recently. This has led me to examine in detail various state statutes and administrative codes covering CCW permitting.

Delaware is a “may issue” state, as indicated in the governing statute: “A person of full age and good moral character desiring to be licensed to carry a concealed deadly weapon for personal protection or the protection of the person’s property may be licensed to do so” (11 Del. Code, Chapter 5, Sec. 1441).


Image from: http://www.usacarry.com/delaware_concealed_carry_permit_information.html
Image from: http://www.usacarry.com/delaware_concealed_carry_permit_information.html

In terms of ferreting out who is of “good moral character,” Delaware’s process has some unique elements.

First of all, “the person shall file, with the Prothonotary, a certificate of 5 respectable citizens of the county in which the applicant resides at the time of filing the application. The certificate shall clearly state that the applicant is a person of full age, sobriety and good moral character, that the applicant bears a good reputation for peace and good order in the community in which the applicant resides, and that the carrying of a concealed deadly weapon by the applicant is necessary for the protection of the applicant or the applicant’s property, or both.”

The second requirement was, to me, even more interesting. Although I cannot see this language in the Delaware Code, the Superior Court of Delaware (which is responsible for issuing permits) includes the following in its instructions for an initial permit:

Arrange With a Newspaper of General Circulation in Your County (Newspaper selection must have a circulation of at least 35% of the population in your zip code.)

  • Have your application published once, at least (10) business days before the filing of your application.
  • Obtain an affidavit from the newspaper company stating that this requirement has been met.
  • Attach the newspaper company’s affidavit to your application.
  • Be sure to use your whole name – no initials – and your home address.

Presumably this is to allow fellow citizens to object to a person’s application for a permit, but it is also clearly a general disincentive, having to provide one’s name and home address.

Not surprisingly, given these requirements, only about 5,000 of Delaware’s approximately one million residents (0.5%) have permits to carry concealed weapons in the state.



  1. This makes life pretty difficult for people who are new to a community or live in an isolated rural area — where I think carrying a gun has some obvious benefits (no cell service, no police). I have been in Bennington VT since 2007 and getting FIVE people to sign off for me wold not be easy as I am a cancer patient and do not get out much. THIS is the kind of arbitrary nonsense that would be best expunged.


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