Gov. Carney signs mental health gun control bill
Legislation making it easier to remove guns from people considered dangerous became law Monday. Gov. John Carney (D) signed the bill at the Biden Institute on the University of Delaware campus.
The new law requires mental health providers to report people they believe are homicidal or suicidal to law enforcement.
Officers can get an emergency order to remove that person’s weapons. The state has 30 days to petition a court to permanently bar someone from possessing weapons.
Bill sponsor State Rep. David Bentz (D-Christiana) praised student activists who pushed for the legislation after a Florida school shooting in February.
“This is the just the first of several pieces of legislation that we can get done this year to help improve public safety in Delaware," he said. "And I think your efforts have been essential to what we have been able to get done so far and will be essential in any success that we have going forward.”
The bill is similar to one proposed by late Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden in 2013. That measure passed the House, but stalled in the Senate. Biden died of cancer in 2015.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said the new law will remove weapons from people who are suicidal or homicidal while protecting individuals’ due process rights.
“Beau possessed a strong belief that we have to continue to move in the right direction," he said. "We couldn’t solve every problem immediately, but we could chip away and continue to change the equation. That’s what this bill does.”
That legislation passed the House, but didn’t have the votes in the Senate. The new law takes effect in six months.