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State lawmakers face threats of violence in committee hearing over gun safety bill

Delaware Public Media

A House committee advances the first of two gun safety bills after a four hour long hearing Tuesday.


The highly controversial bill would ban magazines holding more than 17 rounds.

The bill was passed by the state Senate earlier this month.


While the House Judiciary Committee’s process earned praise from both sides for improving on a similar hearing in the Senate, lawmakers faced threats of violence and a barrage of insults from many opposed to the legislation.


Some opponents suggested the bill would not prevent people who want to use high capacity magazines from finding ways around the law.


State Rep. Jeffery Spiegelman says technology allows for illicit magazine production.


“And the thought that somebody who would be so dastardly and nefarious as to use this in a crime would stop and not 3D print this in order to use it in a crime is absolutely ludicrous,” Spiegelman says.


House Sponsor Nnamdi Chukwuocha agrees illicit production of ghost guns needs to be addressed as well, and House Bill 125 seeks to do that.


Other opponents were concerned about language surrounding base plates. They argue magazine base plates are almost always removable, and the bill as written could outlaw all magazines, regardless of capacity, based on that.


A proposed magazine buyback program also drew questions. It would only buy back up to 1,500 magazines at ten dollars each. Critics claim there are far more magazines out there, and many would be forced to give up theirs without compensation.


Chukwuochasays he supports it because of the gun violence he experiences in Wilmington.

Credit Delaware General Assembly
State Rep. Nnamdi Chukwuocha


“As an elected official, the impact that has not only on the loss of lives but individuals moving from my city — us failing to be able to retain businesses inside our city or attract businesses inside our city,” He says.


Chukwuocha’s magazine capacity bill cleared the committee along party lines and heads to the House floor. The committee will consider a bill to create a permit to purchase system on May 11th.

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.
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