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Dueling rallies on controversial gun legislation expected at Legislative Hall

Delaware Public Media

Gun control advocates and gun supporters are expected to descend on Legislative Hall in Dover Wednesday.

They’re expected to show up to make their voices heard about a trio of controversial bills.

The bills would ban so-called assault weapons, restrict high capacity magazines and require permits for all gun purchases.

The three Senate Democrats sponsoring the legislation will speak at a rally at Legislative Hall hosted by Moms Demand Action, a group of gun control advocates.

Senate Majority Whip Bryan Townsend is sponsoring the assault weapons ban bill. He said he appreciates the opportunity for a public dialogue and expects both sides to be respectful towards each other.

“I think they all take the issue seriously, but I really appreciate those gun owners who are respectful and deliberate in the process of engaging their legislators, or me, or legislative opponents in the process," he said. "That’s really key.”

Republican State Sen. Dave Lawson said some of his constituents have seen drafts of the bills and feel their Constitutional rights are being trampled.

Lawson said he’s heard from many constituents - upset after seeing drafts of the bills on social media.

“It is not the oath that I took in here, any oath I took in the military and the police to denigrate the rights of the people," he said. "The rights of the government comes from the people, not vice versa. The ones that are sponsoring bills think they’re Lord Almighty.”

Senate President Pro Tem David McBride has promised gun legislation will be debated on the floor this year. Bills will go through the Executive Committee, which he chairs. Townsend’s assault weapons bill failed to advance out of committee last year.

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