Contact your state Representative!
On March 31, the House Judiciary Committee heard two firearm-related bills of interest to Delaware gun owners.
HB 46 was released from the House Judiciary Committee with the expressed understanding by Chairman Melanie George (D-5) and Committee members that amendments to the bill are needed before the bill is brought to the House floor for debate.
Some Judiciary Committee members expressed concern with the failure of HB 46 to define "disposal". The truth of the matter is that Governor Markell has made it clear that he plans dispose of the firearms by destruction.
Many states allow law-enforcement agencies to either sell or transfer abandoned firearms to federal licensed dealers (FFL) so they may preserve antique or historical firearms while also allowing the locality to generate revenue.
As amendments become available, the NRA will inform you of their impact on HB 46.
House Bill 46, sponsored by state Representative Dennis P. Williams (D-1), would amend the current law and permit law enforcement to dispose of any firearm and ammunition seized if not claimed within sixty days of a certified letter sent to one’s last known address. While the bill does not define “disposal,” it is clear that the intent is to destroy those guns even if the firearm was not used in a crime. If confiscated firearms are unable to be returned to their owner, they should be sold to federally licensed firearm dealers, a practice common in other states.
Additionally, HB 48 was also reported by the House Judiciary Committee and will soon be considered by the House of Representatives.
House Bill 48, sponsored by state Representative Valarie Longhurst (D-15), would require the state to provide mental health information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, if the individual as a result of a mental health adjudication is prohibited from possessing a firearm. HB 48 would also provide a relief-from-disabilities process that would allow an individual to restore their firearm rights.
In addition to conforming Delaware law to the NICS Improvement Act passed by Congress in 2007, House Bill 48 will also repeal Delaware’s Instant Check system for firearm purchases and move all background checks to the National Instant Check System (NICS). NICS took effect in 1998 thereby rendering Delaware’s Instant Check obsolete and redundant for Delaware's firearm purchasers and taxpayers.
Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to oppose HB 46 and support HB 48. For your state Representative’s contact information or help identifying your state Representative click here.