The Constitution of the state of Delaware, Article 1, Section 20: A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for hunting and recreational use.
Nearly 1 million people live in Delaware. That’s approximately 0.3 percent of the U.S. population living on 0.0006 percent of U.S. land area. This almost insignificant bit of property supports two senators and one representative. Thus, it has an outlandish punch for its size.
Weapons Permits in Delaware
Of America’s 20 million concealed weapons permits, the Blue Hen State has issued roughly 18,000 — only 1.8 percent or so of its population. (By contrast, nearly 10 percent of Florida’s residents have permits.) Although Delaware is a may-issue state and has reciprocity with 21 other states, state law requires the approval of Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings.
Gun laws in Delaware require that you make a public declaration about your permit application. That declaration must be published by a local newspaper 10 days before the application. After you have publicly declared, the office of the attorney general will make a detailed review and determine if your application will be granted … or not.
This means everyone from your physician to your child’s kindergarten teacher will be able to harass you about a constitutional right. It’s absolutely nuts, and it’s going to get worse for residents of Delaware.
Senate Bills for the Gun-Shy
Recently, Delaware’s Senate Judiciary Committee issued favorable reports for Senate Bill 6 (to ban high-capacity magazines) as well as Senate Bill 3 (to implement a “handgun-qualified purchase card” and a very public handgun-transfer registry). These bills have advanced to the full Senate, where they will very likely pass on a floor vote. Then you can expect Democratic Gov. John Carney to quickly sign off on them.
Sponsored by Democratic Sen. David Sokola, SB 6 is the “Delaware Large Capacity Magazine Prohibition Act.” It bans possession of magazines with a capacity greater than 17 rounds. Of course, this is an arbitrary number with no special grounding in public safety. After enactment, possession of a large-capacity magazine will be a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class E felony for any subsequent offense. Anyone who possesses a prohibited large-capacity magazine must “relinquish” it to law enforcement by June 30, 2022. Sokola’s act also establishes a “buyback program,” which, as we know, is an Orwellian misnomer.
SB 3 is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Lockman. Her busy bill requires a prospective purchaser or recipient of a handgun to first obtain a “handgun qualified purchaser card,” which, of course, requires a mandatory, state-approved training course.
An individual who already has a carry permit is exempt from the training requirement but not from the requirement to have a state-issued purchaser card. In addition, SB 3 requires information regarding prospective handgun purchasers be made available to state law enforcement and does not prohibit law enforcement from retaining records of purchasers and of the firearms purchased. This provision essentially creates a state registry of handguns.
“This change,” says Lockman, “assists law enforcement in the criminal investigations they already conduct,” although it does not make Delaware’s streets, schools or neighborhoods safer. Neither does it support and defend the Constitution.
About Rick Sapp
Rick Sapp earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology after his time in the U.S. Army working for the 66th Military Intelligence Group, USAREUR, during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following his time in Paris, France, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing. Along with being published in several newspapers and magazines, Rick has authored more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.