Judge refuses to block state’s assault rifle, magazine laws 

Sam HautGovernment, Headlines


A Delaware gun rights group has vowed to appeal a judge’s refusal to impose an injunction on the implementation of two new Delaware gun laws.

A Delaware sportsmen’s group says a federal judge’s opinion refusing to OK an injunction to shut down implementation of two new state gun rules contained many incorrect findings and that it will appeal.

A post on the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association page also says the group is not surprised a judge appointed by former president Barack Obama would rule in this way.

In the opinion issued Monday, U.S. Judge Richard Andrews of the District of Delaware denied a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiff’s in the case of Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, Inc. et al. v. Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security et al.

The laws banned the purchase of assault weapons and banned high capacity magazines respectively and were both signed into law by the governor on June 30, 2022, becoming effective immediately. Both laws will remain in effect while the case makes its way through the court system.

Jeff Hague, president of Sportsmen’s Association, the state’s National Rifle Association affiliate, said the law that they passed is vague and is vague about which guns are and aren’t banned.

Hague said he would much prefer the state focus on passing red flag laws, like one he helped to pass, rather than on the type of gun used.

“The whole point is legislators don’t have the guts to deal with the person that causes the problem,” Hague said. “They ban the object. They say this is an evil object so we’re gonna ban it…So to ban a specific firearm does no good. You have to deal with the person that’s committing the violent act.”

The association had responded to the suit on its Facebook page earlier this week.

“A right delayed is a right denied,” the post said.

The organization vowed to continue fighting and asked people to donate to help.

Rifle, magazine plaintiffs

Plaintiffs in the suit include Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club, Delaware Rifle and Pistol Club, Delaware Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, Madonna Nedza, Cecil Curtis Clements, James Hosfel Jr., Bruce Smith, Vickie Lynn Prickett and Frank Nedza.

Andrews said the plaintiffs had not shown they suffer irreparable harm due to the two laws.

The plaintiffs claim that the laws prevent them from obtaining assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for self-defense purposes and  harm their ability to sell assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Andrews takes issue with the first claim, saying the plaintiffs are able to use other weapons for self defense and pistols are not impacted by the law. 

They are the quintessential weapon of self defense, Andrews said, citing the Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen.

For the second claim, Andrews cites the case Drummond v. Robinson Township to show that the Second Amendment doesn’t give people an unabridged right to sell guns. The second amendment does not guarantee the right to sell guns, the opinion said.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a press release that the decision acknowledges to role that assault rifles have played in mass shootings, including this week in Nashville, where six adults and three students were killed.

 “The list of mass shooters using AR-15s and similar weapons to murder innocents, including children, continues to grow,” Jennings said.

Her department’s press release referred to the plaintiffs’ suit as “a right-wing challenge against two common-sense gun safety measures.”

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