A little backstory to yesterday’s Quote of the Day . . .

A year ago, the Bridgeville Rifle and Pistol Club filed suit against the state against the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The suit was designed to enforce Article 1, Section 20 of Delaware’s Constitution. From ballotpedia.com:

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.

The departments mentioned ban the possession of guns from public parks and state forests, unless the person is actually hunting with a valid hunting license. From the seafordstar.com:

This is not the club’s first involvement in a lawsuit. It filed a brief in support of a 2010 complaint by two residents against the Wilmington Housing Authority and the authority s ban on guns in common areas of its public housing complexes. In 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court decided that the ban was unlawful under Delaware s Constitution. Also unlawful, the court decision said, was the authority s requirement that residents who owned guns have any permit or license available at all times for inspection.

We were successful in ensuring that people who live in public housing have the same rights as everyone else, Hague said.

Winning the current suit would benefit people who travel to Sussex County to participate in shooting competitions at the rifle club, Hague said: We have a lot of competitors who like to go camping. They like to come down for a weekend, attend a match and then camp at Trap Pond State Park.

It would seem the suit was a slam dunk. The constitutional provision is clear. Precedent has been established by a previous state supreme court decision. But the local Superior Court Judge was not convinced. From wral.com:

On Friday, a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the state, saying the regulations do not violate Delaware’s Constitution.

“The regulations do not run afoul of the Delaware Constitution, defendants were not pre-empted by the General Assembly in enacting the regulations, and defendants did not exceed the scope of the authority granted to them by statute in promulgating the regulations” wrote Judge T. Henley Graves.

The logic here seems to be that the regulatory agencies were not stopped from violating the state constitution by the legislature, when the regulations were passed. Therefore the agencies did not exceed the authority given to them by the General Assembly?

Huh. What? The judge explained further:

The judge concluded that the state agencies have an important governmental objective of keeping the public safe from the potential harm of firearms in parks and forests.

So, a constitutional provision that guarantees the right to protect yourself with arms, can be overridden by a regulatory agency because the agency has an important government objective of “keeping the public safe from the potential harm of firearms”?

The Bridgeville Rifle & Pistol Club’s facebook page, and the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association’s webpage do not have any response to the judge’s decision yet. Judge Graves may believe the decision is up to a higher level court than his. I expect an appeal will be filed.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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54 Responses to Delaware Judge Holds State Constitution Does Not Apply in State Parks, Forests

  1. I have relatives in DE, and my CCW is surprisingly good there, much to their surprise, because as they put it, the State does not want people who live here even to carry. Not surprised at this Jackass Judge’s ruling.

    • That’s right. Many visitors to delaware can CCW while residents have to go through onerous hoops to get a permit. A delaware resident holding an outstanding of state permit can’t carry with it alone in delaware, thanks to revisions in the law made after the fact.
      National CCW is needed to override this nonsense.

      • My CCW is good in 40 states, can’t wait for the other 10. I carried in one of those ten anyhow. Better to have it & not need it than to need it & not have it. Also, be smart & join the USCCA, you will sleep a lot better.

  2. I live in DE and not sure what this judge is smoking but with all the f*cking liberal shitheads that live here this is really no surprise. Someday these dopes will learn and start voting for the people that really know how things are.

    • We are being invaded from MD, NJ, and PA by lefties looking good for affordable living and they bring their voting with them.

  3. Soooo…. he punted.
    Yup. A cowardly move, to be sure. It will get struck down by a higher court but this judge simply wanted to say, “Hey, it wasn’t me”.

    • Another example of “Do what we want, let them fight it in the (overwhelmed) legal system. Slam dunk” mentality.

  4. CA is creeping in. Belief that your zip code nullifies your rights is a real thing in CA. Magic zones that are immune to civil, constitutional and human rights.

  5. Of all the places a woman and child might need a gun: hiking alone, deep in the woods. This is precisely the scenario I found myself in Illinois about 2 weeks after getting my concealed carry. My child and I hiking in the woods to look at fall leaves were tracked for some time by a lone adult man. Thank goodness for my P230 loaded and ready. I never unholstered but had to consider the possibility. Now? I never leave home without it, thanks to that incident.

    • We were tailed for a long distance on some very backroad WV roads with out of state plates (they thought they were hanging far enough back for me not to notice-keep up your SA). Made a U turn & came back at them; freaked them the hell out-they realized that it would be no picnic & that they picked the wrong victim. Took off like scared chickens. NEVER leave home without it. Had a few other times that we would have been extremely uneasy not being armed. Watch out for suspicious behavior & use body or vehicle ‘language’ to tell them to f**k off. The only fight that you are guaranteed to win is the one you avoid. Never go below condition yellow.

      • It was probably some back woods butt pirates, they didn’t mean any harm, just wanted to check you out in my opinion. No witness, you do it in the woods, it is peaceful, relaxing, you like it you don’t until you try you don’t know. No need to be so rude at them that’s for sure.

  6. “So, a constitutional provision that guarantees the right to protect yourself with arms, can be overridden by a regulatory agency because the agency has an important government objective of “keeping the public safe from the potential harm of firearms”.

    A statement of fact actually stops my brain from working.

    By that logic how does the government keep me safe from a criminal attacking with a gun…in a state park or a forest by ruling a physical space, not a individual has protection from a person with a gun.

    • File a lawsuit against the state if something happens to you.

      Judge said it’s their objective. Well, they failed. So sue. Just like you can sue McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on yourself. Their objective is warn you it’s hot and have a lid on it, and keep you safe.

      • McDonald’s served their coffee way to hot to drink. You usually had to wait at least twenty minutes to even try to drink it. They pretty much had the hottest coffee on the market. The coffee was so hot the first couple of sips ruined your ability taste how bad it really was. Part of the plan? They served it in flimsy cups, handing it to people in cars as they drove past their windows. Thousands of people were severely burned, including children who didn’t even drink coffee. They knew all of this was a problem, and refused to stop, even after paying many thousands of dollars in out of court settlements. That’s why they lost and had to pay a huge settlement that was greatly reduced on appeal.

        Now their coffee is not quite as hot, the containers are sturdier, they will add the cream and sugar before it goes in a moving vehicle, nobody has to go to the hospital, and they serve much better coffee. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.

        • “Now their coffee is not quite as hot, the containers are sturdier, they will add the cream and sugar before it goes in a moving vehicle, nobody has to go to the hospital, and they serve much better coffee. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.”

          What McDonalds do you go to? I still avoid McDonalds coffee because I know it’s going to take too damn long to cool down.

        • Who gets their coffee from McDonalds anyway? Dunkins is better tasting and I have greater confidence that their employees won’t spit in it.

  7. 2 years ago I was raped in the woods by a black bear, I wish I was packing, instead he packed my fudge big time.

  8. The only way this will be fixed- or partially fixed- is when the federal Constitution is enforced to include ‘bear arms’ along with keeping.

  9. So state laws don’t apply in the state. The judge should be impeached and flogged publically, which is still legal under Delaware law. It would be a fitting and suitable punishment for a miscreant like this judge.

    • “2.5 +-MILLION THUMBS UP !!! And Tarred and Feathered !!!! Where’s that 2nd Amendment Coalition I keep hearing about ?!? We the People need to make it a *Capital Crime* for any government official, politician, Police, or agency to interfere, or infringe upon any US citizens constitutional rights !!! With a minimum of 250K in restitution for each event! Along with Fines, Prison Time, and Other Compensatory damages !!!!”

    • I would love to see something like that happen. There was a Judge in PA that this would have even been too good for him. But he actually did have to go into hiding to keep from being killed until things calmed down. Not sure, but I think he had to quit the judge business.

  10. Um…If the state constitution does not apply, then neither do state laws or regulations, since their power derives from the state constitution, just add the restrictions on gov power do.

  11. I think part of the confusion stems from the idea that people sometimes think they live in a country where laws are made by elected representatives through the legislative process. The law is made by a periodically elected executive in partial consultation with judges and intensive representation from government bureaucratic interests. This is simply another example of how law is made in the U.S.

  12. Huh? What? Banning guns in parks and forests? Those…. woodsey places where there aren’t likely to be a lot of witnesses or police around should something happen to you? Sounds veeeeery smart.

  13. Happily, I live in a Constitutional carry state, nevertheless, I have always had a policy of carrying whenever or wherever I felt the need. Concealed is concealed. I do not believe any do-gooder or politician has the right to endanger the lives of myself and family just to make brownie points with each other.

    • Live in an open carry state & CCW is good in 40. Like you, I carry regardless of the freedom denying signs; concealed is concealed. Things like my Ruger LCP Customs just vanish from sight.

  14. Delaware must be made safe for the junkies, illegal aliens, pederasts, and tranny hookers who hang around its sanctified parks and recreation areas.

    Guns are bad, unless wielded by a BLM thug against some racist cops in the land of “Liberty And Independence” (actual Delaware state motto.)

  15. This is a classic case of a judge redefining a constitution to conform to their political ideology. Tyranny is happening one step at a time.

    • Biden was a poor law student and unqualified for the AG job. It was to be a stepping stone to governor. He ran against a superbly qualified man who didn’t have the name or money behind him. If not for that tumor he would be governor elect right now.

  16. I think it’s supposed to be Bridgeville not Bridgeport. I live in this liberal state and if it’s citizens are not careful, step by step gun owners are going to be restricted more and more. We have forces in this state who want to make it more like NJ, NY and MD. Hopefully this case gets pushed up, bit to be honest our supreme court is a joke too. Everything is politically motivated, nothing is “for the people”!

  17. While I am against this decision, I assume it is grounded in the notion that some gun owners will be tempted to take target practice in areas without backstops or hunt out of season. I have seen similar restrictions in NC and WV. We gun owners who want these laws and regulations overturned need to work very hard on our peers to follow safe practice. Some of you would not compromise. I might for example support laws that make it a firearm misdemeanor to practice in a state park but do not restrict carrying. I am concerned about wayward yoots and rabid animals in parks, but I am also concerned about careless or drunk idiots.

  18. If this judge thinks that public safety is increased by banning defensive weapons, maybe he should be required to go for a walk in the park every day without any police protection. How about the safety of women in the woods?
    How about the safety of disabled persons such as veterans or accident victims?

    Carrying anyway is sure to get you arrested and charged with a felony if you ever actual use your gun to defend yourself or a third person. Maybe if you encounter a person being attacked by a bear or a human predator, do you think and ignore their need for help because to do so makes you an instant felon?

    The whole point of these laws IS the intention to make defensive gun use less likely and/or make as a many citizens into prohibited persons in every state because of a felonious use of a firearm [just carrying].

  19. Responsible for everyone, yet accountable to no one…Regulatory bureaucrats. Why created regulation through legislation, when you can create a bureaucracy and never have to be held responsible as a politician for your action?

  20. Only Assholes crave power and the Courts in the U.S. including the Supreme Court have shit on the Constitution not only in regards to the Second Amendment but in regards to other Constitutional rights as well. The Courts rule with public opinion and the Constitution be damned. 100,000 Japanese Americans were tossed into concentration camps in WWII. Laws were passed making it illegal for people to marry outside their race and were upheld until only a few decades ago, clearly a blatant violation of the Constitution and it was not just Whites banned from marrying Blacks either but marrying Asians, Indians, Latino’s etc. etc. Laws were passed and upheld that prevented people from voting such as women, blacks and other minorities. Laws were upheld that banned minorities from eating in all white restaurants, or sitting in the front seat of a bus. None of this is new in regards to the Assholes that seek and obtain high court positions. They believe that they do not sit at the right hand of God, they believe” they are God” and will tell you such in no uncertain terms. They are the scum of the earth and the courts are the biggest danger to Constitutional freedoms in the U.S. The stingy, tightwad Merchants that started the American Revolution screwed the American people out of parliamentary system of government and the resulting inferior Constitutional style of government haunts and condemns the American people to this very day.

  21. It would have been good if the author of the article had included a link to a copy of the judges decision as the article headline is very likely a misstatement of what the judge actually held in his decision. What he likely said is that the regulation regarding bringing a firearm onto park grounds is within the limits of what a government can do under the circumstances. It is not that the constitution does not apply, it is that the regulation is in the judges eyes a reasonable limit on second amendment rights. None of the rights granted to us under the constitution are completely unfettered of any regulation by the government. They never have been. Note that I am not advocating for strict gun control laws, I object to them strongly. However, I think that this article is a misstatement of what the judge in this case actually decided. I don’t agree with the decision.

  22. It is almost a “given” that the first level of appeal of a government action that the court will uphold the government. Only when you get to a higher court does the real fight begin.

  23. This is as bad as a judge I know that threw out someone having to pay money claimed owed to someone, then coming back and saying BUT they still had to pay the interest on the money they never owed in the first place?!?!

    Some liberal judges truly lack the common sense a judge should have.

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