Delaware Public Media

Safe storage gun bill passes Delaware House

Mar 26, 2019

Legislation revising safe storage requirements for firearms squeaked through the Delaware House Tuesday.

The 22-19 vote was mostly along party lines, with Democratic State Reps. William Carson (D-Smyrna), Quinn Johnson (D-Middletown) and William Bush (D-Cheswold) and Andria Bennett (D-Dover) joining Republicans in voting no.

The legislation sponsored by State Rep. Sean Lynn (D-Dover North) overhauls the law seeking to prevent children from getting access to loaded guns to also include people barred by the state. It makes it a misdemeanor if a child or prohibited person a obtains a loaded gun because a gun owner intentionally or recklessly leaves it within easy access.

State Rep. Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington) said her granddaughter accessed a loaded gun that wasn’t stored safely and shot herself. She says while her granddaughter survived, she wasn’t the same.

“I don’t know how many other people in this chamber has experienced anything like this," she said. "That’s why it’s been very emotional for me to sit here and listen to all of this and all of the excuses and the reasons why. We’re talking about safe storage.”

Gun rights advocates say they’re concerned the bill makes law abiding gun owners into criminals. They say if their gun is stolen, they’ll be charged with a crime.

They’re also concerned the state’s definition of firearm is too broad. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

Editor's Note: The original story erroneously left Rep. Bennett out of the list of Democrats who voted no on the legislation.