Last month, as reported by NRA-ILA, Governor Jack Markell (D) unleashed a five-point plan to subject Delaware to sweeping gun control measures. Yesterday, he unveiled the first draft in what is expected to be a series of anti-gun legislation. The bill printed yesterday - which has yet to be assigned a bill number - would require any gun owner to notify police within 48 hours if a firearm was lost or stolen. This bill does nothing to solve an existing crime problem, but is an ideological attack on gun ownership. It institutes policies to criminalize victims of crime, and subjects anyone who does not follow these arbitrary laws to heavy fines or felony charges that would take away their right to possess a firearm legally. In no way could legislation that targets innocent citizens be seen as a “reform”, and there is nothing “common sense” about the effects such a far-reaching bill will have.
The NRA is firmly opposed to legislation that makes it a crime for gun owners to fail to report a firearm lost or stolen within an arbitrarily imposed time limit. Persons who are not only innocent of wrongdoing, but who are in fact victims of crimes themselves, ought not to be required to complete an inventory of personal assets during a potentially very sensitive time in their lives, or face criminal prosecution. It is not unreasonable to have scenarios in which a crime victim could be facing significant personal losses beyond the property crime described in the legislation; such as injury to themselves or a family member. To require victims to take time during the initial 48 hours after such an event to search personal records and the scene of the crime in order to present such an inventory to law enforcement lest they be punished with steep penalties is wrong and unfair. This legislation and all forms similar turn a victim into a criminal.
Presumably this legislation is intended to address the problem of "straw purchasers" providing firearms to prohibited persons, and then later claiming to have lost or had stolen the firearm in question. Such persons have already committed federal felonies by acting as a straw purchaser, and should be prosecuted accordingly. If the state wishes an additional prosecutorial tool, it is preferable to draft legislation addressing the issue of false reporting by these persons, and to make that act specifically criminal. Your state legislators need to hear from you TODAY. Urge them to introduce reasonable legislation to rationally address existing crime problems without taking away the ability of the law-abiding to protect themselves and loved ones.
Don’t let anti-gun zealots in Dover target and punish the law-abiding citizens of Delaware for the acts of a criminal – call your state legislators and Governor Markell NOW.
Contact information for your state legislators can be found here.
Governor Jack Markell
You can e-mail the Governor here.