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New legislation proposes gun permits in Delaware

Delaware Public Media

A newly-introduced bill would require Delawareans to get a permit to purchase firearms.

State Sen. Laura Sturgeon’s (D-Brandywine West) legislation creates an application process for people to get a handgun or firearm permit. It has some similarities to the permit process New Jersey uses.

A purchaser must pass a background check and complete a gun safety course within two years of their application. They can get a handgun card or firearm card.

The handgun permit would allow someone 90 days to buy one handgun. But they could continue to apply for permits if they submit to a background check each time. The firearm permit allows the person to buy an unlimited number of long guns in a three-year period.

Opponents say the bill creates a government database. Sturgeon and others say this information is already collected and required to be given to law enforcement. She said police officers would only look at it if a person is under investigation.

“Law enforcement would have the ability to access the database so they can find out if that person has you know an arsenal of weapons or something like that," she said. "So it helps law enforcement do their job.”

Gov. John Carney (D) said he has some concerns. He wants to look at how it works in other states.

“Sounds a little cumbersome to me," he said. "Obviously the gun rights advocates don’t like it because I think it implies at some level a registration or a register of firearms.”

Opponents also say the bill hurts low-income people because of the costs for background checks and the safety course.

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