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Gun control bills face latest legislative hurdle next week

Delaware Public Media

Controversial gun control bills are set for consideration in a state Senate committee next week.

State Sens. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) and Dave Sokola (D-Newark) are sponsoring legislation banning assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines.

State Sen. Laura Sturgeon (Brandywine West) has introduced a new version of her bill creating a permit process for buying handguns and long guns. The bill still allows someone who passes a background check and takes a safety course to buy 1 handgun every 90 days and unlimited long guns within a three-year period.

But she said the new version clarifies the bill won’t create a gun registry. It also exempts people with concealed weapons licenses from having to take the safety course. She said she doesn’t expect the changes to sway gun rights advocates.

“I haven’t really seen a lot of willingness to move on a very hard position, a kind of a hard line," she said. "You know, I hear chants of ‘We will not comply.’”

But State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown)  said he still believes it creates a gun registry.

“I believe in reading the bill that that information is still sent to the state from the gun dealers, so it would create a de facto gun registry within the state of Delaware,” he said.

Senate President Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawk's Nest) has promised the gun bills will all get a floor vote.

The Senate passed a gun storage bill sponsored by State Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover) last month. But Lynn says he opposes an amendment added in that chamber.

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