Griffin v. State, No. 412, 2011 (Del. Supr. June 18, 2012).
Whether the right to bear arms under Article I, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution entitles a Delaware resident to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license in her home.
Yes, according to the Delaware Supreme Court.
Why Highlight this Case?
This decision is ultimately based on natural law that transcends all legal specialties. A monumental aspect of the right to bear arms ensconced in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is that it remains one of the few rights that the U.S. Constitution that did not grant, but rather the Second Amendment recognized a pre-existing, natural right of self-defense that the Founders who wrote the Constitution believed that every person was endowed with at birth. The right to bear arms is considered an extension of the right to self-defense, and these “views of the world” were both recently validated by the United States Supreme Court in the Heller decision. The Delaware State Constitution has a provision at Article I, Section 20, that is similar to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that provision was interpreted in this case.
The appeal in this case involves a conviction of a person who was arrested in his home, and when the police found that he had a deadly weapon in his pants (a large knife), he was also charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a license.
Short Overview of Decision
The Delaware Supreme Court in this opinion adopted the reasoning of a decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and found that the constitutional right to bear arms in this context made the conviction for carrying a concealed deadly weapon without a license in one’s home a violation of the constitutional right to bear arms in defense of one’s self, one’s family and one’s home. The Delaware Supreme Court adopted a three-part test that was used by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This decision, consistent with common sense, is an appropriate extension of the natural right of self-defense and the Delaware Constitution’s provision providing for the right to bear arms.