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Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsMay 2018

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(3 Del.C. §§101(3), 1011 and 29 Del.C. §10119)
3 DE Admin. Code 402
Pursuant to 29 Del.C. §10119, the State of Delaware Department of Agriculture adopted on December 26, 2017 emergency amendments to the State Forest Regulations, 3 Delaware Administrative Code §402. These regulations were issued by the Secretary pursuant to the power conveyed by the General Assembly for The Agriculture Secretary by 3 Del.C. §101(3), and by the specific authority to devise and promulgate regulations to protect State Forest lands conferred by 3 Del.C. §1011.
The portions of the Regulations referenced above relating to firearms were affected by the recent decision of the Delaware Supreme Court in Bridgeville R&P Club v. DNREC, issued on December 7, 2017. The decision will have binding effect upon the issuance of a mandate by the Court. The Court found that the existing firearms regulations violated the State of Delaware Constitution, in that they were overly broad in their prohibitions. In the absence of interim regulations, firearms would essentially be unregulated on State Forest lands, including facilities such as education centers, lodges, and offices. A risk of harm from gunfire would be present in these and other areas where visitors gather, including families and children. Law enforcement authorities would lack the ability to screen and check for identification, permits, or credentials of armed visitors to these facilities. The Court recognized that restrictions on firearms are appropriate in limited public areas and facilities; but that licensed and qualified persons must be exempt from such prohibitions. The interim regulations are an effort to strike the balance the Court mandated.
Subsequent to the adoption of the emergency regulations on December 26, 2017, the Department began the formal regulatory promulgation process with the publication of its initial proposed regulatory amendments in the January 1, 2018 Register of Regulations. Thereafter, the Department held public workshops in each county throughout the State of Delaware in February 2018, and held the public hearing on March 12, 2018. It is anticipated that the formal adoption of the aforementioned regulatory amendments will be finalized prior to the expiration of this 60-day renewal period (on or before June 25, 2018).
Consistent with the requirements of 29 Del.C. §10119(4) the Department will receive, consider, and respond to petitions by any interested person for the reconsideration or revision of this Order. Petitions should be presented to the Office of the Secretary, Delaware Department of Agriculture, 2320 South Dupont Highway, Dover, Delaware, 19901.
It is hereby ordered, the 16th day of April, 2018 that the attached amendments to the above-referenced Regulations are adopted pursuant to 29 Del.C. §10119 and effective as noted above
4.1 Department” is the Delaware Department of Agriculture
4.2 DFSis the Delaware Forest Service
4.3 DNREC” is the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
4.4 “Secretary” is the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Agriculture
4.5 State Business Hours” are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, except for state holidays.
5.1 In order to promote the safety and welfare of State Forest visitors and protect and manage property in the State Forests, the Secretary and Forestry Administrator shall have the authority to develop reasonable policies for State Forests that are not in conflict with 3 Del.C. Ch. 10 and these regulations. These policies must be approved by the Secretary and posted in a conspicuous location in the State Forest prior to their becoming effective. Copies of all policies shall also be maintained in the State Forest office.
7.6 State forests are multiple-use facilities, which means other activities will continue while you camp. These activities include: hunting, picnicking, hiking, nature study, horseback riding, firewood cutting (by permit only), and timber harvesting. The DFS reserves the right to limit or deny permits during times of conflicting use.
8.2 No special permits are required to hunt on State Forest lands, except as specified in the DNREC, Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunting and Trapping Guide. Properly licensed hunters may hunt during any open season except on areas otherwise designated, such as those marked with Wildlife Sanctuary, NO HUNTING, or Safety Zone signs.
8.8 Target shooting is prohibited. Firearms are allowed for legal hunting only and are otherwise prohibited within designated safe areas on State Forest lands.
8.11 The following hunting restrictions apply to those tracts of State Forest lands as specified in the DNREC, Division of Fish and Wildlife Hunting and Trapping Guide. Maps delineating these areas are available at State Forest offices.
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
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