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Delaware: Senate Passes Bill Criminalizing Private Transfers of Firearms

Thursday, April 18, 2013

House Bill 35, legislation to criminalize private transfers of firearms, passed in the state Senate today by a 13 to 8 vote.  Sponsored by state Representative Valerie Longhurst (D-15), HB 35 passed in the Delaware House of Representatives by a 24-17 vote last month.  It will now be sent to Governor Markell for his signature.

This bill will criminalize virtually all private transfers of firearms by requiring a criminal background check be performed for the sale or transfer of all firearms.  Background checks (subject to fees) would be performed by licensed firearms dealers who would be required to maintain records of such background checks in accordance with state and federal law.  HB 35 is the first step toward the criminalization of all private firearm transfers.

Last week, as NRA-ILA reported, HB 35 was placed on the Senate floor agenda even before its Senate committee hearing.  Anti-gun legislators hoping to force their agenda through the state Senate treated passage of HB 35 as a foregone conclusion before the people of Delaware had an opportunity to express their views.  Like the anti-gun politicians in Connecticut and New York, Governor Markell and anti-gun legislators have obviously been concerned about public scrutiny of this legislation.  The consideration and passage of this bill was rushed before law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen had a chance to learn how it will impact and punish them.  At the same time, this type of legislation will have absolutely no impact on crime, criminal access, or misuse of firearms.

There are many other gun control bills pending in Dover and your vigilance and action will be needed to ensure that they do not passed and get enacted into law like HB 35.

Please contact the following eight state Senators who voted against House Bill 35 today and thank them for standing up for your rights:


Senator Gary Simpson (R-18)

Phone: (302) 744-4134

Senator Gregory Lavelle (R-4) 

Phone: (302) 744-4048

Senator Robert Venables (D-21)

Phone: (302) 744-4298

Senator Bruce Ennis (D-14)

Phone: (302) 744-4310

Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R-19)

 Phone: (302) 744-4048

Senator Colin Bonini (R-16)

Phone: (302) 744-4169

Senator Gerald Hocker (R-20)

Phone: (302) 744-4144

Senator David Lawson (R-15)

Phone: (302) 744-4237



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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.