Gun advocates oppose AG’s legislative agenda, including requiring a permit to buy

Posted on 03-06-2021

Sen. Dave Lawson said her agenda puts rural people at risk because they don’t have the same access to law enforcement.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings advocacy for new gun control laws has irked some people. Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Gun control opponents say the four items dealing with restrictions on firearms in Attorney General Kathy Jennings’ list of 10 legislative priorities will do more harm than good. 

Among them are requiring a permit to purchase firearms, which she said would reduce homicides and suicides; banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; regulating homemade gun kits, because they have been playing an increase role in Delaware shootings; and banning guns in polling places because they are an anti-voter intimidation measure.

“She stepped out of bounds and she went so far as to talk about four different things that are nothing more than trying to ban firearms claiming that it’s going to make people safer, and it’s not,” said Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel. He had laid into her during a recent budget hearing before the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

“There’s two issues here,” he said later. “One is her lane, and one is the subject matter.”

Jennings was not available for comment, but Delaware Department of Justice Communications Director Mat Marshall said in an email that no should be surprised that the attorney general publicized her agenda or that it included gun bills.

“The number of American lives lost to gun-related injuries in a single year is warlike. That’s not an exaggeration,” Marshall said. “In the last 50 years or so, more Americans have been killed by guns than in all of America’s wars combined. We shouldn’t accept the status quo on gun violence and, like the vast majority of Delawareans and Americans who support these policies, we don’t.” 

She has support.

“Gun violence is not a left or right issue. It’s a life or death issue, and to me it’s really the crux of the whole conversation,” said Traci Manza Murphy, executive director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. “We need to take gun violence prevention out of the political context and look at it as all of us working together as a community to keep people safe.”

She said one reason Jennings wants to require permits to purchase a gun is to keep both law enforcement officers on the street and as well as citizens safe.

Jennings’ other six legislative points included ending cash bail, securing the right to vote, ending excessive court fines, outlawing certain unfair business practices, redefining the states use of force standard and funding body cameras for every police officer in the state.