Attorney General Kathy Jennings focus on new gun control laws has irked some people

Amendment to gun magazine bill aimed at saving Georgetown company

Betsy Price Business, Government & Politics, Headlines

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A bill making its way through the Delaware General Assembly that would ban gun magazines of more than 17 rounds could cost a Georgetown company enough business that it had to lay off 60 or more workers.

Atlantis Industries Corp. in Georgetown, an injection molding company, makes components for gun magazines.

Under Senate Bill 6 as it now exists, the company would not be allowed to continue doing it, and Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, said the company would lose business and employees.

The proposed law, sponsored by Sen. Dave Sokola, D-Newark, would bar any firearm magazine with a capacity exceeding 17 rounds of ammunition. Under the legislation, 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. Under the bill as it exists any sale of a firearm magazine that exceeds 17 rounds of ammunition would be prohibited.

Briggs King’s proposed amendment would exempt from the bill any Delaware large-capacity magazine manufacturer as long as the magazines are sold to a person or company outside of Delaware.

“If Senate Bill 6 were to pass unamended, Atlantis Industries and its workforce would be significantly impacted,” she said in a press release. “Without my amendment, there is a realistic and very consequential effect on their company, potentially ending 60 to 100 jobs.”

She said she was not aware of the company’s problem until after the bill was filed in March.

“Without my amendment, Senate Bill 6 presents a significant ramification that goes beyond the protection of a citizen’s Second Amendment rights,” she said. “We’re dealing with people’s livelihoods and to not take that seriously enough would be irresponsible as public policy makers.”

Efforts were not immediately successful Wednesday to get a comment from Sokola.

The bill set off bitter and emotional reactions between those in urban and rural settings, as well as Democrats and Republicans. It has passed the Senate and was released from the House Judiciary Committee on April 27, but is not on Thursday’s house agenda.

That means that it likely will not come up on the House agenda until May, because the House and Senate break for two weeks for committees to focus on budget issues.

If the bill does pass the House with the amendment, it will have to go back to the Senate so that body could vote on the amended version. If it passes there, it would go to Gov. John Carney for his signature.

If the bill somehow doesn’t come up for a vote this year, it would still be an active bill next year, because the General Assembly has two-year sessions. The current 151st assembly will end in June 2020.

Sussex County Economic Development Director Bill Pfaff said he applauded Briggs King’s amendment.

“This amendment will go a long way in helping to retain Atlantis Industries in Delaware, preserve the workforce and maintain their contribution to our tax base,” he said in a press release.

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