Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Wilmington Councilmembers push for gun reform in Public Safety Committee meeting


Wilmington’s Public Safety Committee is urging state lawmakers to pass gun reform legislation before the session is over at the end of the month.

The Committee convened on Monday night to discuss two resolutions.

One resolution sponsored by Councilmember Linda Gray asks the General Assembly to back a measure allowing Wilmington to make its own rules and laws about gun usage.

Municipalities had the ability to regulate firearms before 1986, when the 133rd General Assembly passed legislation revoking that right. Gray notes the legislature was controlled by the Republicans at the time.

“It’s just asking them to give us back the authority because we have the highest murder rate," Gray said. "We have probably, I don’t know the statistics, but probably the highest rate of gun ownership. And with everything that is happening, this could be preemptive.”

A second resolution urges the General Assembly to pass SB3 - a permit to purchase bill. Its sponsor, Councilmember Chris Johnson, says requiring permits for firearms is a long overdue, common sense piece.

“You need a permit to drive a car, but in Delaware, unfortunately, you don't need a permit to purchase a firearm," Johnson said. "This is a tool that even law enforcement supports because it allows them to better make sure that gun owners are responsible and that we can keep a lot of illegal guns, off the streets of Wilmington.”

Gray says there are many useful reasons to have such a system.

“When there's a crime, it helps the police trace the gun," she said. "If you have a permit and you're supposed to have the gun and you don't have it, then that gives the police a lot of information and might be easier to trace it down and find a perpetrator.”

The bill passed the Senate last year and is awaiting a House committee hearing.

Johnson says he isn’t sure that Gray's resolution will reach the General Assembly by the end of session this month, but is likely to be ready when lawmakers reconvene in January.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.