DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Last year was difficult for all of us, and I’m hopeful that 2021 will bring our country, and our communities, back together.
I’m also hopeful that it will give me the chance to see and hear from you. You shape the causes I fight for, and it’s thanks to you – and the incredible work that so many of you did – that Delaware has made real change in the last two years:
- Together with the legislature and the governor, we made historic progress on criminal justice reform
- We improved DOJ’s charging policies to give low-level, non-violent offenders the services they need and for us to focus our resources on the most violent among us
- We’re reversing mass incarceration by diverting low-risk offenders to treatment: from December 2018 to December 2020, Delaware’s prison population fell by more than 25%.
- We sued Big Oil and Big Pharma to hold them accountable for the damage they’ve done to our state
- We saved millions for Delaware consumers and taxpayers
- We established and expanded a Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust
- We fought for voting rights, both here and nationwide
- We disbanded LLCs that used Delaware’s corporate law to engage in criminal conduct
- And when the Trump Administration stepped over the line, we stepped in – and won for Dreamers, women’s rights, for the Postal Service, for our environment, and for the Census.
Now we’re hard at work passing new reforms to protect our neighbors, our kids, and our elections. Here are ten of my top priorities for 2021:
1. Require a permit to purchase a firearm
There are too many guns on our streets, and it’s too easy for criminals to get them. Owning a gun is a right and a responsibility. That’s why it’s time to join red and blue states alike in requiring a permit and training to purchase a gun. Permit to purchase laws have been shown to reduce gun homicides by 40% and gun suicides by 15%. You need a license to drive a car; you ought to have one to buy a gun.
2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
These are killing machines that have no place in our communities. Period.
3. Regulate homemade gun kits
Homemade gun kits are playing increasing roles in Delaware’s shootings. It’s time for us to take action.
4. Fund body cameras for every police officer in Delaware
I proposed 15 reforms in the wake of last summer’s protests, starting with a call to put a body camera on every police officer in our state. Governor Carney included funding for body cameras in this year’s budget proposal, and in the past year our three biggest cities have all worked to put body cameras in their police departments. It’s time for the First State to become the first state in America to equip every police officer with a body camera.
5. Create a consistent, objective use of force standard
Delaware law uses a vague, confusing standard for the line between legal and illegal use of force. The current standard is hard for police to use, hard for the public to understand, and hard for the Department of Justice to enforce. It’s time to change it.
6. End cash bail
Delaware’s bail system isn’t working. Nobody should be in jail just because of their poverty; and violent criminals should never walk free just because of their wealth. It’s time for us to end cash bail, once and for all.
7. End excessive fines and fees
This is a modern-day debtor’s prison. If we want to reduce recidivism, we have to end the senseless, vicious cycle of court fines and fees that rack up on people who are clearly unable to pay.
8. Outlaw unfair business practices
You may think it’s illegal already, but Delaware is one of only six states that hasn’t explicitly outlawed unfair business practices like coercive sales tactics or charging for services you didn’t request. That’s not company we want to keep. The DOJ is Delaware’s consumer protection agency, and we need the tools to fight for you.
9. Secure our right to vote
We spent much of last year fighting unprecedented attacks on our elections. I even personally argued in court against a lawsuit to throw out nearly 80,000 ballots here in Delaware. So in 2021, I’m pushing every legislative effort to protect our elections and make it easier to vote. That includes expanding and making permanent the right to vote early and to vote by mail, which the legislature and governor temporarily accomplished during the pandemic.
10. Get guns out of polling places
A secure vote means voting free of intimidation: we must ban firearms at polling places, plain and simple.