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State Senate president promises vote on assault weapons ban

Delaware Public Media

State senators could vote on legislation banning assault style weapons next week. Senate President Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawk's Nest) put it on Tuesday’s agenda even though it failed to get out of committee.

McBride said he feels the Senate should weigh in on the matter.

“Supporters and skeptics alike would be remiss not to allow this debate to reach the full Senate or to receive an up or down vote,” he said.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark), either needs 11 senators to agree to suspend rules and bring it to the floor or one more committee member to release it.

The debate over guns has turned personal - with McBride and Republican State Sen. Greg Lavelle (R-Sharpley) publicly trading jabs over the bill’s failure in committee last week. Lavelle left the statehouse shortly after McBride’s announcement, saying he had a family emergency.

But Townsend also points to a social media post from Republican state Sen. Dave Lawson (D-Marydel) that calls him out by name for opposing Lawson’s school safety bill. In the video post, Lawson criticizes Education Committee Chair Democratic Sen. Daid Sokola (D-Newark) and committee members Townsend and Sen. Jack Walsh (D-Stanton) for opposing the bill.

Townsend says the post was uncalled for and legislators should communicate better.

“It’s an unfortunate example of legislators seeming to forget how to pick the phone and call each other, walk across the aisle and talk to each other,” he said.

Townsend requires Republican help to get the assault weapons ban to the floor. Democratic state Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna) plans to vote no - meaning he’ll need at least one GOP vote.

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