Delaware Concealed Carry Forum
August 17, 2018, 11:38:21 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Despite a lot of talk, gun-control bills stall in Delaware Legislature  (Read 149 times)
CorBon
Life Member
*****
Posts: 444


The Revolution starts in your heart...


« on: April 19, 2018, 06:07:47 AM »

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/04/19/despite-lot-talk-gun-control-bills-stall-delaware-legislature/527692002/

Despite a lot of talk, gun-control bills stall in Delaware Legislature
Scott Goss Updated 8:38 a.m. ET April 19, 2018


It appears that Gov. John Carney is getting impatient on gun control.

On Wednesday, he called on lawmakers to hold an up-or-down vote on a slew of gun-control bills awaiting action in the Delaware General Assembly, although it is increasingly uncertain whether Democrats will be able to pass them all.

"I would encourage the members ... in each chamber to give each of those pieces of legislation a vote," Carney said. "And they can vote yes or they can vote no."

The governor's comments came as three of the most high-profile bills are having trouble gaining traction, including a proposed assault weapon ban he demanded.

The proposed ban – by far the most contentious of the bills – was supposed to have a committee hearing Wednesday, a crucial first step that later was postponed.

A bill to raise the legal age at which someone can buy a rifle was slated for a final vote in the Senate on March 29 but was tabled just before the Legislature went on Easter Break. Introduced six weeks ago, that bill – and several Republican-backed amendments – was on the Senate agenda for Thursday but was taken off Thursday morning.

The House has yet to schedule a re-vote on legislation that would ban bump stocks and trigger cranks, devices that dramatically increase the firing speed of semi-automatic weapons. The Senate passed an amended version of the bill that reduced the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor on March 15.

Carney said all of those bills are critical to enhancing public safety and reducing the risk of mass shootings.

"What is clear is none of these pieces of legislation on their own will solve the problem," Carney said. "[But] each of them, taken together, are a tool, which will help us provide better safety in our schools and the streets of our communities."

Advocates and opponents of gun control do not agree on much. But officials from both sides say they too want to see votes on the bills.

"That's the way you should do legislation," said Dennis Greenhouse of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. "Let's vote on these bills and see where they are."

The head of the Delaware State Sportsman's Association, the local affiliate of the National Rifle Association, agreed that the time has come for a vote – at least on some of the legislation.

"House Bill 300 has been languishing for a month," DSSA President Jeff Hague said, referring to the proposed bump stock ban. "There was a good compromise on that bill in the Senate and I don't understand why it hasn't come up yet in the House."

For some of the other bills, Hague said he is hoping Democrats and Republicans are able to reach a similar compromise, a process that he said might take more time.

"But as for [the assault weapons ban], I have no idea what's going on," he said. "I don't think anyone knows what's in store."

Assault weapons ban

The lead sponsor of the proposed assault weapons ban said he requested that the planned committee hearing for Senate Bill 163 be pushed back.

"Given all the feedback I've received, I wanted some additional time to prepare my presentation," said State Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark. "I plan to bring it forward in the coming weeks."

It's not clear whether Townsend and his fellow Democrats have the votes to get the bill out of the Senate Judicial and Community Affairs Committee, where it was assigned by Senate President David McBride, D-Hawk's Nest.

The five-member committee includes Sens. David Lawson, R-Marydel, and Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, two of the most ardent gun-rights supporters in the Legislature. Fellow committee member Sen. Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley, is uncommitted.

Even if the bill gets to the Senate floor, its passage is not a certainty.

Democrats hold a one-vote advantage in the upper chamber. But Ennis's opposition to the bill means Democrats will need to lock down the remainder of their caucus and pick up at least one Republican vote.

The first part of that equation is already proving problematic.

Senate Majority Whip Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, said last week that she is uncertain how she will vote. Sources close to the debate say she is not the only Democrat who remains on the fence.

"I, like many of my colleagues, am listening to my constituents on both sides of the issue," she told The News Journal last week.

Townsend, meanwhile, commended Carney's leadership in calling for a vote on the assault weapon ban and other gun-control bills.

"Whichever side you're on, all of these bills deserve an up-or-down vote," he said. "Being uncomfortable with a conversation is no reason to avoid it. Showing the courage to have tough conversations and to be accountable for your position, is a legislator's job."

Bump stocks

Just as uncertain as the fate of Townsend's proposed assault weapons ban is the next step House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, will take with the bill banning bump stocks and trigger cranks she introduced in December.

After an amendment was added allowing owners of those devices to legally turn them over to police, the bill easily won passage in the House due largely to 11 Republicans opting not to vote at all.

But things took a turn in the Senate.

An amendment introduced by Ennis and passed by the Senate reduced the penalty for violating the proposed ban from a felony punishable by up to five years in jail to a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,150 fine.

The change and one other amendment also sent the bill back to the House.

Longhurst immediately shot off a statement accusing the Senate of letting down the thousands of Delaware students who walked out of school in March as a demonstration of support for gun control.

For weeks, political watchers have wondered whether Longhurst will simply call for a vote on the Senate version of the legislation or move to strip the Senate's amendments before sending the bill back to the upper chamber.

So far, she has done neither.

"It’s my intention to soon pass a bill that will prohibit the sale, purchase, transfer or possession of bump stocks," Longhurst said Wednesday. "I am working to make sure the bill that will be signed into law provides that protection and holds anyone who refuses to follow the law accountable.”

Legal purchase age

After a lengthy delay, a bill to raise the legal purchase age for rifles from 18 to 21 was slated for a final vote in the Senate on Thursday, then removed from the agenda just hours before.

The measure previously was amended in the House to exclude shotguns and muzzleloaders – firearms typically associated with hunting – from the higher age restriction.

Carve-outs also were added for active members of the armed forces, qualified law enforcement officers and someone with a concealed carry permit. And it was changed so that parents or guardians could essentially gift rifles to their children.

Those alterations were enough to get the measure through the House in a 24 to 16 vote.

But a slew of Republican-backed changes proposed on the floor of Senate effectively shut down debate on the bill for several weeks.

Some of the amendments introduced last month would expand those exceptions by allowing people between the ages of 18 and 21 to purchase a rifle if they pass a hunting course, are honorably discharged from the military or seeking a protection from abuse order from the courts. Others seek to exclude .22-caliber rifles and "pistol caliber" carbines.

Republicans, who hold 10 votes in the Senate, appear to have the support they need from at least two Democrats – Ennis and Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington.

If those amendments pass, the legislation would head back to the House and the bill's lead sponsor House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, could find himself in the same position as Longhurst.

Bills advancing

Not all of the gun-control measures proposed in Delaware are stuck in legislative wrangling.

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Protection Act cleared a Senate committee Wednesday and could come up for a final vote as early as next week.

The so-called "red flag" bill would allow police to temporarily seize firearms from a person deemed a threat by a mental health professional.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware has raised a number of concerns about due process and a provision that the group says could leave a person with a mental health condition homeless if someone they live with refuses to give up their firearms.

But the legislation unanimously passed the House last month and was endorsed this week by groups on both sides of the gun-control debate.

"We think this is the best compromise that is available to address the issue of people with mental illness that need help," Hauge testified Wednesday. "This provides a process for everybody."

Carney on Wednesday also signed a bill that increases the maximum prison sentence for an initial violation of the state's prohibition against straw purchases from three to five years.

Those purchases are illegal under federal law but several states, including Delaware, also have outlawed the transactions, which are typically used to arm people prohibited from owning a gun due to prior convictions for felonies and domestic violence, for example.

The bill is the only gun-control legislation to reach Carney's desk so far this year.

But its impact on reducing gun violence is questionable.

Only four people were convicted of violating Delaware's straw purchase law from 2013 to 2017.

"We've got to get police to more actively pursue straw purchases," Carney said. "But we've also got to give them the tools to do that ... This is one of those tools."

Contact reporter Scott Goss at (302) 324-2281, sgoss@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @ScottGossDel
Logged

Very few guns are actually "illegal guns."  A gun misappropriated by a criminal is no more of an "illegal gun" than a stolen car is an "illegal car."
CorBon
Life Member
*****
Posts: 444


The Revolution starts in your heart...


« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2018, 06:13:40 AM »

One thing that is very common with this latest wave of anti-gun stuff is the idea of “hurry up and vote” — almost before it’s even read, or understood, and most certainly before it loses any momentum or anyone can really oppose it.
Logged

Very few guns are actually "illegal guns."  A gun misappropriated by a criminal is no more of an "illegal gun" than a stolen car is an "illegal car."
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!