Two Controversial Gun Bills Filed in Senate

Posted on 03-29-2021

Two controversial gun-control measures were filed yesterday (3/25) in the State Senate.
Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman (D-Wilmington West), would require that Delawareans wishing to buy a handgun first obtain a “handgun qualified purchaser card.”  To get the card an individual would need to be finger-printed, undergo a criminal background check, and successfully complete a firearms training course.
The legislation mandates that the course contain 11 specific components, including firearms handling, live shooting exercises, suicide prevention, and methods for avoiding a criminal attack and managing violent confrontation.
The bill also calls for the state to maintain a searchable database of all handgun transactions that could be inspected “by any judge, justice of the peace, police officer, constable, or other peace officer … in furtherance of an open criminal investigation or during the course of a criminal prosecution.”
The state would not charge a fee for the card, but the applicant would be responsible for any costs associated with meeting the requirements to obtain one.
Individuals licensed to carry a concealed deadly weapon would be exempt from the bill’s requirements.
Similar legislation was introduced in 2019, but died in the Senate Executive Committee.
Seven of the chamber’s 21 members, including Senate President Pro Tem Dave Sokola (D-Newark), are sponsors or co-sponsors of the proposal, which is pending consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Sokola is the prime sponsor of the second measure, Senate Bill 6. Called the Delaware Large Capacity Magazine Prohibition Act of 2021, the measure would bar any firearm magazine with a capacity exceeding 17 rounds of ammunition.
If enacted, Delawareans possessing any magazines with capacities over the imposed cap would be required to turn them over to police in exchange for unspecified compensation through a program to be established and administered by the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Citizens found in possession of barred magazines would face a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class E felony for a subsequent offense.
The law would take effect 60-days following its enactment. It is currently pending action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Sokola sponsored a similar measure two years ago, which died without being considered by the Senate.  Eight senators are sponsors or co-sponsors of the latest incarnation of the proposal.
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