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The Delaware Senate passed legislation banning “high capacity” magazines last week, forcing residents to sell such devices to law enforcement or risk prosecution.
The magazine legislation and another gun control bill requiring a license to purchase a handgun passed without any Republican support through the Democrat-controlled chamber on Thursday. The bills will now move to the Democrat-controlled House and, if passed, to Gov. John Carney’s desk.
Earlier in the week, Democratic leaders in the Senate suggested they planned to force the bills through without GOP support if necessary in the interest of public safety.
“The urgency for public safety laws that will protect Delawareans from the threat of gun violence gripping our communities must be carefully balanced with our duty to provide fair public notice of measures being considered by our chamber,” Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola and Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman said in the statement.
“These policies are not new and, put simply, Delawareans have waited too long for us to act on them,” Sokola and Lockman said, noting that previous attempts to enact such measures have failed. “Too many lives are at risk to justify any further delay in their consideration before the full Senate.”
Senate Bill 6, which bans “high capacity” magazines, classifies a high capacity magazine as any that holds more than 17 rounds of ammunition. The bill creates a $15,000 fund to purchase such magazines from their owners. The owners must either sell their magazines to law enforcement or risk criminal prosecution once the law is enacted.
Democrats argue the law would cut down on the carnage of any potential future mass shootings. Critics said the law would just prevent law-abiding gun owners from purchasing such magazines while criminals would buy theirs illegally. Republican State Sen. Dave Lawson said that Delaware residents had a Constitutional right to ignore the magazine ban if it’s enacted.
“I think people have had enough like I’ve said, and there’s, well it’s a protection in the Constitution that we don’t have to abide by any law that isn’t constitutional — and these are not constitutional, there’s no way they are,” Lawson said, according to Delaware Public Media.
Senate Bill 3, the second gun control bill, would force Delaware residents to go through a safety course and receive a permit before being allowed to buy a handgun. As the Newark Post reports:
The permit bill requires a person wanting to buy a handgun to complete an approved training course within five years of applying for the state permit. After completing a training course, a person would have to submit a permit application to the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The department would have 30 days to fingerprint applicants, confirm that they are legally permitted to own a handgun, and issue a “qualified purchaser card.” The card would be valid for 180 days.