EXCLUSIVE | DSSA sues DNREC over ban on semi-auto rifles for hunting

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The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) has filed a lawsuit against the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) after the agency banned the use of semi-auto straight walled pistol rifles for hunting.

DSSA President Jeff Hague appeared LIVE on WGMD Tuesday morning and confirmed to our Rob Petree that the association has in fact moved forward with a lawsuit against DNREC after they banned the use of the weaponry for hunting.

In an interview with WGMD’s Rob Petree, DSSA Pres. Jeff Hague explains…

In 2018, Governor John Carney signed a bill into law allowing straight wall pistol caliber rifles for hunting, according to Hague who said the statute was plain and clear but yet DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin unilaterally decided to exclude so-called ‘assault-rifles’ from the list of permissable firearms for hunting purposes.

“The reasoning was they didn’t want to allow assault-rifles to be used for hunting,” Hague explained. “Of course we all know they’re not really ‘assault rifles’ they’re semi-automatics and they’ve been around for over a hundred years.”

DSSA, in conjunction with the State Sportsmen’s Caucus of the Delaware General Assembly, sent a letter to Secretary Garvin explicity stating that the action to ban the weaponry for hunting was illegal. Hague said they never recieved a response.

Following the decision to ban the weaponry, hunters continued to use semi-automatic rifles and were not arrested because there was no statutory violation, according to Hague.

“This year he went a little further and decided that not only were the semi-autos banned but you had to have a commercially available pistol in that caliber before you could use a rifle in that caliber,” Hague stated. “That was the last straw, we asked Secretary Garvin in a letter back in August to rescind that language in the hunting guide and he declined to do so, so a couple weeks ago we filed a lawsuit.”

Right now, the case sits in Kent County Superior Court, according to Hague who has asked for the suit to be expedited.

“Personally, I believe, it’s the culture that the progressives have tried to impose on us when we want to excercise our right to keep and bear arms, ” Hague said when asked why the agency decided to ban the hunting weapons.

WGMD’s Rob Petree has reached out to DNREC who has yet to respond to a request for comment.