Delaware House Bill 451 (HB 451) makes a person under the age of 21 prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm or ammunition of a firearm except under limited circumstances. Persons under the age of 21 may possess or control a firearm for the purpose of engaging in lawful hunting, instruction, sporting, or recreational activity while under the direct supervision of a person 21 year of age or older. While the recognition that firearm exceptions should be made for those who are lawfully hunting is positive, the requirement that those hunters under 21 utilizing straight-walled pistol-caliber rifles must be under the direct supervision of someone 21 years of age or older provides a serious roadblock to hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) efforts.
Please consider joining the National Deer Association (NDA) in opposing this legislation. House Bill 451 provides a major roadblock to R3 efforts by placing significant age restrictions on incredibly popular deer hunting firearms in Delaware. CLICK HERE to ask you Delaware lawmakers to oppose the bill.
The NDA is interested in managing deer and habitat appropriately and protecting our hunting heritage than debating use of specific weapons. However, straight-walled pistol-caliber rifles have become increasingly popular among Delaware hunters, and they represent an important tool for managing deer and continuing our deer hunting heritage. Currently, youths 16 years and older can hunt with these firearms without supervision. HB 451 not only places burdens on responsible firearm hunters ages 16-21, but it always raises the required accompanying adult minimum age for youth hunters (those 15 and under) using straight-walled pistol-caliber rifles for all deer hunting seasons. At a time when recruiting young hunters is as important as it’s ever been, HB 451 makes that challenge significantly more difficult.