≡ Menu

Legislation

DELAWARE LEGISLATION

HB 35: Sponsor: Longhurst – Federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) are required to perform criminal history background checks on prospective firearms purchasers. However, when the sale or transfer of a firearm does not involve a licensed dealer, no background check is required. This is an enormous loophole—one in which convicted felons, minors and other prohibited purchasers can readily avoid background checks and more easily acquire guns. This bill would require that a criminal history background check be performed in connection with the sale or transfer of all firearms, with a few exceptions noted below. Background checks would be performed by licensed firearms dealers, who are already required to conduct a background check whenever they sell a firearm or when requested by private parties. Dealers would be required to maintain records of such background checks in accordance with state and federal law. Background checks would not be required in private party transactions (1) in which the buyer or transferee is a member of the seller or transferor’s immediate family (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling or spouse); (2) involving antique firearms and certain replicas thereof; (3) involving the return by a licensed pawnbroker of a firearm to the person from whom it was received; or (4) involving qualified active duty and retired law-enforcement officers. Persons who violate this act would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor for a first offense. Any subsequent offense would be a class G felony.
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.ns … enDocument

HB 35 was signed into law by Governor Markell on May 8, 2013.

Summary: Requires background checks for all firearms transactions.
Position: OPPOSE

 

HB 36: Sponsor: Briggs King – This Act increases certain minimum sentences required for the use of firearms by persons prohibited.
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.ns … enDocument
Summary: This Act increases certain minimum sentences required for the use of firearms by persons prohibited.
Position: SUPPORT

 

HB 37: Sponsor: Hudson – Currently § 1447A punishes the possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony but does not differentiate between persons having a firearm in their possession and persons who use the firearm during the commission of a crime. This Act makes this distinction and provides enhanced penalties for those displaying and discharging a firearm, and causing serious physical injury to a non-participant during the commission of a crime. This Act further, like the current statute, provides enhanced penalties for those who have twice before been convicted of a felony in Delaware or elsewhere
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.ns … enDocument
Summary:  This Act makes this distinction and provides enhanced penalties for those displaying and discharging a firearm, and causing serious physical injury to a non-participant during the commission of a crime.
Position: SUPPORT

 

HB 58: Sponsor – Mitchell and Peterson.  This is bill would ban the manufacture, sale, purchase, transfer, or delivery of standard capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.  The bill’s proponents want to soften the blow of the bill by still allowing residents to keep their magazines while at home, and transport them “safely” to the range for use there if desired.  One of the exceptions to this legislation covers law enforcement officers and qualified retired law enforcement officers, meaning their ability to defend their lives with magazines designed by manufacturers specifically for the firearms they choose to carry is protected, while a common citizen must act under a separate set of guidelines.
http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.nsf/vwLegislation/F8EDF03B468AD24885257B2B006DCBB1?open
Summary: Prohibits standard capacity magazines in public places
Position: OPPOSE

 

HB 62: Sponsor – Bolden and Marshall.  This bill would allow the City of Wilmington to ignore state preemption and enact firearms laws on its own, with no regard for the laws currently on the books in the state.  This is very dangerous.  Allowing localities to enact their own laws over and above the laws enacted by the state provides a confusing patchwork of laws and regulations that can trap an otherwise law abiding citizen.
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.NSF/vwLegislation/HB+62?open
Summary: Allows Wilmington to ignore preemption laws
Position: OPPOSE

 

HB 67: Sponsor – Scott & Sokola.  This is the “Gun Free School Zone Act.”  This bill would make it illegal to have a firearm (among other items) in a “School Safe Zone.”  One of the more troubling parts of this bill is a section which states, “It shall not be a defense to a prosecution for a violation of the section that the person was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place on or in a Safe School Zone.”  This is troubling because a Safe School Zone is considered to be “any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or real property owned, operated, leased or rented by any public or private school including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or vocational-technical school…”  The phrase “not limited to” is the catch-all phrase that will end up catching someone in a trap, and there’s no defense.  Anything that could be considered a place of education could be turned into a “school” under this act, and a sharp prosecutor could easily turn an otherwise law abiding citizen into a felon.

Furthermore, all of the school shootings that have taken place in the past were conducted in zones already designated as “gun free zones.”  We fail to see how creating a new law will have any effect on the conduct of criminals who have proven in the past that they will not abide by the laws that are already on the books.  Stockton, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown… none of these locations allowed firearms on campus, yet multiple students were killed.  How will this law prevent those tragedies from taking place in Georgetown, Dover, Wilmington, Millsboro, Smyrna, or any other town in the state?
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/2bede841c6272c888025698400433a04/d37bcf346988033985257b340074f0bd?OpenDocument
Summary: A new “School Safe Zone” will be created in which firearms will be prohibited.
Position: OPPOSE

 

HB 88:Sponsor – Barbieri, Hudson, Sokola.  This bill’s intent is to make it more difficult for people who present a danger to themselves or others to own firearms or ammunition.  However, HB 88 is a very dangerous piece of legislation.  There is no due process protection in this legislation.  In other words, you can lose your right to own a firearm or ammunition simply because a health professional believes you present a danger – and there is no due process of law to prevent a judge from agreeing and ordering your property to be confiscated.  The a court needs “clear and convincing evidence” to act on the request, which is better than the original wording, but we are still opposed to this legislation.  Losing one’s rights should require “proof beyond all reasonable doubt” instead.  Better yet, if you were going to potentially lose your rights, wouldn’t you want to have your day in court in front of a jury to defend yourself?

This is an extremely troubling piece of legislation, as it threatens the very liberty of the people that the State of Delaware is supposedly committed to protect. http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/2bede841c6272c888025698400433a04/c70ddfbd4302b28385257b4f0065d1ac?OpenDocument

HB 88 was passed out of the House of Representatives on a 40-1 vote on May 14, 2013.  On June 27, 2013, HB 88 was defeated in the Senate on a 13-6 vote, with 2 Senators (Townsend and Poore) not voting.

Summary: Persons who present a danger to themselves or the community can be ordered to turn in their firearms and ammunition.
Position: OPPOSE

 

SB 16: Sponsor – Henry and Barbieri.  This bill would place a requirement on citizens to report lost or stolen firearms within 7 days of being discovered as lost or stolen.  This is a hammer looking for a nail.  Most insurance companies already require some sort of police report when filing a claim, so responsible gun owners already voluntarily comply with the provisions of this bill.  Making a 7 day limit for that report will not enhance crime fighting, and in fact, it has already been publicly stated by AG Biden that DSP does not have the resources in place to implement and enforce this law.  Perhaps there are good intentions behind this law, but in reality, it solves nothing and it would likely make criminals out of citizens who tried to do the right thing but waited “too long” to report their firearms lost or stolen.
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.nsf/vwlegislation/260B7A10B2BA395585257B2C006C344F

SB 16 was voted out of the Senate on an 11-10 vote on May 2, 2013.  It was voted out of the House on a 22-19 vote on May 14, 2013.  Governor Markell signed the bill into law on June 12, 2013.

Summary: Requires citizens to report lost or stolen firearms within 7 days
Position: OPPOSE

 

SB 18: Sponsor – Pettyjohn and Wilson.  This is another hammer looking for a nail.  The last time we checked, it was already a crime to provide a false police report.  Along comes SB 18 which now makes it a double crime to create a false report when dealing with the loss or theft of firearms.  This is likely a knee-jerk reaction to what legislators already know about SB 16: it is easy to circumvent the provisions in that legislation by simply “playing dumb” and telling law enforcement that the loss of theft took place within 48 hours, even if the citizen plainly knows it did not.  This, by the way, is called making a false report.  There is no need to create more legislation when existing legislation can be used (or even modified, if necessary).
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.NSF/vwLegislation/02B2CD9D3A36070A85257B0200494F20?Opendocument
Summary: Makes it illegal to file a false report dealing with the loss or theft of a firearm
Position: OPPOSE

 

SB 23: Sponsor – Marshall and McDowell.  This bill takes SB 62 and goes one step further, allowing ANY jurisdiction – not just Wilmington – to enact their own firearms laws by totally removing the state preemption law.  As with SB 62, it would create a patchwork of legal requirements for firearms that would turn the state into a legal quagmire for firearms owners.
http://www.legis.delaware.gov/LIS/LIS147.NSF/vwLegislation/SB+23?Opendocument
Summary: Allows all jurisdictions to enact their own firearms laws without state oversight
Position: OPPOSE

 

SB 32: Sponsor – Lavelle.  Under this bill, a person could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor if there is a transfer of a firearm to someone who is a prohibited person, but the person initiating the transfer was unaware that the recipient is a prohibited person.  How do you get around that?  Do a background check before the transfer.  The sponsors of this bill are evidently hoping that this will be a good incentive to do a background check before initiating a firearm transfer.  It is currently a class F felony to knowingly transfer a firearm to a prohibited person; now we can be charged with a class A misdemeanor for unknowingly transferring a firearm to a prohibited person.  Following that same logic, perhaps we should do a background check on prospective car buyers, to ensure that a car is not being transferred (sold, transferred, given, lent, or otherwise lent) to someone who shouldn’t otherwise be driving, and holding the owners of cars accountable for not doing a thorough background check prior to the transfer?  That is the same logic that is being used here.
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/2bede841c6272c888025698400433a04/47446aced720236185257b2700622761?OpenDocument
Summary: It would be a class A misdemeanor to unknowingly transfer a firearm to a prohibited person, unless a background check was performed prior to the transfer.
Position: OPPOSE

 

SB 37: Sponsor – Marshall, Barbieri, Herrernan.  This is the long awaited “assault weapon ban” in Delaware.  Not only does this ban a long list of firearms, it also requires current owners to “register” them with the Delaware State Police within 120 days of enactment.  (Even though an amendment to HB 35 specifically prohibited such registration in the state.)  Furthermore, how can firearms owners “prove” ownership for firearms that may have been purchased or obtained through gifting years ago, or constructed over time from parts, like an AR-15?  Does that mean that these weapons must be surrendered?
http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/2bede841c6272c888025698400433a04/e5fce345a86c00d685257b2c0065f611?OpenDocument
Summary: A long list of firearms would be prohibited in the state, or citizens would be required to show “proof of ownership” in order to maintain possession.
Position: OPPOSE

 

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

Many bills have been introduced in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.  There are two excellent resources that anyone can use to keep up with this legislation.  One is GovTrack.us.  It is a site that will let you create a list of legislation that you want to track, and receive e-mail updates when there is a change to any of the legislation that you are currently tracking.  The other is a site called Constitution Watch.  The person who runs that blog also keeps an eye on federal legislation, and will make updates as he finds them.

We have an account on the legislation activism site PopVox where you can easily see and track all of this legislation. Please take the time to visit each piece of legislation and click on “Oppose” or “Support” as you feel is appropriate.

This will take a little bit of time, but it is very important that we all do this. It will add our voices to the other grass-roots activists, and more importantly, it will go to our Delaware representatives. We will keep the PopVox page updated as new legislation is released. Make your voice heard here!

Updated 9/27/2013