Delaware Dems Pass Gun Bill

( – Democrats in Delaware passed a bill requiring all handgun buyers to be fingerprinted, undergo training, and obtain permission from the state before buying a handgun.

The vote came along party lines after hours of debate between gun-control proponents and those who oppose further restrictions on firearms. Predictably, advocates claim the bill will lower the number of murders and suicides, while opponents say the bill infringes on the rights of citizens while doing nothing to stop criminals intent on enacting gun violence.

Bill sponsor Sen. Elizabeth Lockman, optimistically said she believed that criminals will adhere to the rules if the bill becomes law. “Best of all,” she said, Delaware residents will have the knowledge that every single handgun owner in the state will have had professional training. 

Republican Senator David Lawson voiced a common question among Second Amendment supporters, asking “When do we stop persecuting” law-abiding citizens and focus instead on locking up criminals? Lawson is a former state trooper and used to own a gun store.

Bill opponents argue that the proposed permit system is time-consuming and expensive, and infringes on the rights of ordinary Delaware residents under the state’s constitution. The Delaware constitution has gun rules that are more specific than those outlined in the U.S. Constitution. The state’s founding document guarantees not just the right to keep and bear arms, but also to have those rights for the purposes of hunting and sport. 

The bill will now go to the Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats. It is similar to earlier bills that passed one chamber but did not make it through the other. 

The bill would set up a system that prevents gun dealers and private sellers from selling a handgun to anyone unless the customer has what the bill calls a “qualified purchaser permit.” To get such a permit, a customer would have to graduate from a gun training course and submit fingerprints to the State Bureau of Identification. 

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