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Revised gun permitting and high-capacity magazine ban legislation return to General Assembly

Courtesy of the Dover Police Department

A pair of bills seeking to reduce gun violence were introduced by state lawmakers Thursday.


Both are revised versions of bills that stalled last legislative session, with changes made to court more support.


Senate Bill 3 requires people to apply for a permit before purchasing a handgun. That process includes getting fingerprinted as well as taking a firearms training course before applying.


State Sen. Elizabeth Lockman (D-Wilmington) wants to reduce gun trafficking, with her bill requiring people to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun.


“We see handguns in particular really often used in lethal violence and this type of policy helps to dampen that trafficking.”


Lockman is the measure’s prime sponsor this year. She says representing most of Wilmington, she’s witnessed the effects of gun violence first hand.


“We see so much violence and death related to this and I think it’s crucial for us to do that to save lives and that has economic implications — and public safety is really important and I think this is a really important component of achieving that.”


Lockman likens her bill to a 1995 handgun permitting law in Connecticut which is credited with a 40 percent reduction in the state’s firearm homicide rate and a 15 percent decrease in firearm suicides.


Like that bill, Lockman’s is limited in scope - focusing on handguns. Lockman says long guns, such as rifles, were dropped because it’s much harder to measure the effects of each class of long gun.


The second bill seeks to ban the sale of magazines holding more than 17 rounds.


It’s sponsor, State Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark), says they are trying again to address high-capacity because they being used increasingly by criminals, including in mass shootings.


Maryland and New Jersey already have capacity restrictions more strict than the bill introduced in Delaware.


Both bills are supported by Gov. John Carney and state Attorney General Kathy Jennings.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.