The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association took to social media Monday to condemn a bill that would create a permitting process for getting a handgun.
“We knew it would be coming back and it’s finally here,” the Facebook post said.
“In the wake of the violent criminal actions of the last few weeks in Delaware, our single partly overlords have decided that the best course of action is not to hold criminals accountable, but to make it harder for citizens to defend themselves, even though police cannot be everywhere, and are not required to protect citizens.”
The bill, which hasn’t yet been filed in the General Assembly, is expected to be sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman, D-Wilmington, and House Majority Whip Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle South.
It requires someone planning to buy a handgun to have a permit, unless they are a qualified law-enforcement officer, retired law-enforcement officer, or already have a concealed weapons permit.
The Sportsmen’s Association, which is Delaware’s National Rifle Association affiliate, said the permitting process would add significant costs and create delays for getting a concealed carry permit.
The association pledged to fight the bill in the legislature and in the courts, just as it is battling last year’s ban of high capacity magazines and assault rifles.
Efforts were unsuccessful Monday to reach Lockman or Minor-Brown for comment.
Drew Volturo, the deputy chief of staff for Communications for the House Democratic Caucus, said because the bill originates in the Senate, any comments on the bill should come from the Senate.
Handgun bill details
The bill would mandate that permits can only be given to a person 21 years old or older who can’t be prohibited from buying a gun and can’t pose a danger of causing physical injury if supported by probable cause. That person also must complete a firearms training course within the last five years that meet certain requirements.
That training must include instructions on safe handling of firearms and ammunition, safe storage of firearms and ammunition, and child safety. It must also include shooting fundamentals and skills, a review of state and federal laws, self-defense and confrontation management. The training also must include live fire shooting exercises conducted on a range using at least 100 rounds of ammunition.
Jeff Hague, president of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association, said that the legislature should be addressing other problems to get to the root of the problem.
“If they had any guts, they would go after the real problem. Gangs, drugs, the breakdown of societal fabric, the family, education,” Hague said. “Just do things about that. That will take care of it…prosecute people that are caught with firearms, put them in jail. I don’t know a criminal in jail that recidivates.They don’t commit new crimes if they’re in jail.”
Hague said that the bill would be unconstitutional because of the Supreme Court case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which ruled last year that certain requirements for owning a pistol based on arbitrary evaluations are unconstitutional.
If the bill does pass, it would take effect six months after it’s signed into law and the director of the State Bureau of Identification publishes the law in the Register of Regulation.
Hague said that while he agrees with the current restrictions that exist on the federal form 4473 to own a firearm, the proposed bill puts too many barriers in the way of purchasing a gun.
“It says I have to go through training, which is identical to the concealed carry training,” Hague said. “I have to go through and get fingerprinted and photographed, or fingerprinted at the minimum.
“And then it’s up to the secretary of Homeland Security whether he thinks I’m good enough to have the permit. So if he doesn’t like me, he can say, ‘You don’t get the permit.’…You only get to purchase a handgun if the secretary of Homeland Security says it’s ok.”
In its social media post, the association also asks people to join the organization and/or donate to the cause.
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