Proposed Regulation Allowing Guns in Delaware State Parks Awaits - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Regulation Allowing Guns in Delaware State Parks Awaits Hearing in March

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 10:41 PM Updated:
An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas. An outline of Killens Pond state park's restricted areas.

GEORGETOWN, Del.- Delaware officials held a public meeting on Thursday night to answer the community's questions about the proposed regulation allowing guns into Delaware State Parks. 

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled the previous ban on firearms inside state parks unconstitutional last December.  Officials then put emergency regulations into place and are hoping a final regulation will take effect by June. 

Jeff Hague, president of the Delaware State Sportsman Association, says it's a constitutional right.

"Police officers and law enforcement unfortunately can't be everywhere and people have the right to defend themselves," Hague said. 

Hague is part of the organizations that filed a lawsuit against DNREC and the Department of Agriculture last December.  He says this proposed regulation is a positive first step, but isn't exactly following what the court ruled. 

"While they're a good starting point, they're really not what's needed and in some cases exceed what the court said - we believe what the court said - they're allowed to do," Hague said. 

The proposed regulation still puts restrictions on certain areas within Delaware State parks, like offices, playgrounds and visitor centers.  

"You can open carry in Delaware and that winds up being 98-99 percent of the total acreage. The restricted areas tend to be facilities where the public is going to gather, or families and children might be present," Deputy Attorney General Ralph Durstein said. 

Others at the public meeting felt that these "sensitive areas" outlined in the proposed regulation are still not gun-free.  The restricted areas still allow those with a conceal carry permit, or law enforcement background to possess a firearm.  Some even thought that was discriminating against those that couldn't afford to go through the permitting process in Delaware. 

The hearing for the proposed regulation is on March 12 in Dover. 

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