Delaware Police Chief: Keep and Bear Means what it Says

Gun Watch

The Delaware State Constitution has an explicit protection for the right to keep and bear arms.  It was enacted in 1987.

 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.  Art. I, § 20

It seems that some public officials take their oath of office seriously.  In Lewes, Delaware, the city has a ban on the open carry of arms.  The legislature, when it passed  a comprehensive preemption statute, allowed ordinance that violated the statute to be grandfathered, if they existed before July 1, 1985.  From delmarvanow.com:

With Lewes’ city code being established in 1980, including their “open carry” policy, the number of “what if?” scenarios had council struggling with how they should handle the situation.

From the police department’s side, Chief Jeffrey Horvath said the idea of enforcing something he sees as unconstitutional is untenable.

“The Delaware constitution says you have the right to keep and bear arms. That’s exactly how it’s worded,” Chief Horvath said.

“I don’t want to be in a position where someone is insisting ‘It’s on the books, you’re not enforcing it,’ he added. “I think we need to be able to tell the police officers that ‘this is what you’re supposed to do because it’s the right thing to do.’ ”

Many people have the prejudice that all those little Northeastern seaboard states are against the right to keep and bear arms.  It comes from the horrific examples set by the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland.  Delaware is a Shall Issue state, and has open carry of arms without a license throughout the state.

At the moment, there is a bill on the Governor’s desk that gives municipalities the authority to ban open carry in municipal buildings.  It does not give the authorities the authority to ban concealed carry with a permit.  It passed the legislature, both houses, on 1 July, just before the adjournment of the legislature.  There are now three possibilities:

Democrat Governor Jack Markell can sign the bill, which will then become law.  He has not done so yet, and the bill passed almost six weeks ago.

The Governor can veto the bill.  Again, he has not done so.

The Governor can do nothing.  In that case the bill eventually dies.  It is not entirely clear when the bill would become non-viable.  If the legislature was in session, and the Governor did not sign it or veto it, the bill would become law in 10  days.  The legislature is *not* in session.

It is unkown if ordinances passed under the bill would pass muster under the State Constitution.  It is likely that if passed, they would be challenged.   Chief Horvath maintained that it would be unconstitutional:

But the idea of contradicting the Delaware state constitution did not sit well with Horvath.

He said “The chief prior to me was informed by city solicitor not to enforce it,” and maintained his stance that he saw the law as unconstitutional.

We are seeing that even in the Northeast, there are police chiefs that take their oath of office seriously.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

2 thoughts on “Delaware Police Chief: Keep and Bear Means what it Says

  1. The 2nd Ammendment- as it is written-“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – and that is just on the federal end. To the many of you out there who either don”t know, don”t understand, don”t care, or are simply a victim of WAY TOO MUCH OF OBUMMA’S KOOLAIDE and are purposely trying to take away our liberties, let me explain as simply as I can. WE- the American Citizens- ARE the “Well regulated Militia”. We are the last and final line of defense of and for this country. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, the Rmperor and most of his advisors wanted to attack America her self. The lead Admiral for the Japanese Navy simply said ” we have awoken a sleeping dragon already. If we try to attack America on her own soil there will be a rifle behind every blade of grass”There is no mention of a standing military until very much later. Our Liberators- Founding Fathers- however you refer to them- knew what could be at stake. They weren’t perfect by any means- hell they were human just as you and I are- but they understood things you and I could only imagine. Living under a “King”, Totalitarianism, an Iron fist- it makes you see and understand things differently. But I digress. We have the right to be JUST AS WELL ARMED AND JUST AS WELL TRAINED AS OUR MILITARY, it’s that simple. And especially since “Fearless Leader”, “Liar in Chief”, “Obumma”,
    “The soon to be Dictator of the United States” has literally opened up the Southern Borders to ANY AND ALL (That means a crap load of our sworn enemies) people without the need for ID or a way to track movements, we REALLY need our Rights and Liberties- more now than ever. Our “RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS”- that means the Right to purchase and Carry on us weapons of our choice- is at present one of the most important rights we need to have

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