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Gun buyback bill flounders in state Senate

Delaware Public Media

State senators rejected a bill Tuesday that would have allowed undercover officers to use state funds to buy guns off the streets – legal or otherwise.

The proposal from Democrat Robert Marshall - who is one of seven Wilmington mayoral candidates - also would’ve mandated any guns recovered be destroyed.

It was quickly voted down 6-15, with several members of Marshall’s own party opposing it.

Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) says it’s just not a worthwhile program.

“It’s a waste of state dollars," said Simpson. "There’s no measurable way to determine whether it’s been successful. I would certainly rather see those dollars given to witnesses in Wilmington who could then testify with more immunity against the crimes that they’ve seen committed.”

Marshall disagreed, saying it simply has an intangible effect on violence statewide.

“You cannot qualify nor quantify the benefits of a program like that to the community in general. It’s sort of like we throw the dice when we apply state funds for job retention.”

Gun crimes spiked in Wilmington after the program was enacted in 2011 and it was never given new funding by the General Assembly.

Budget lawmakers would have needed to set aside cash for it to be active had the bill passed.

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