Tomorrow, the Delaware House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear House Bill 168. HB 168 would make it a class A or B misdemeanor if a person is guilty of the unsafe storage of a firearm should they intentionally or recklessly store or leave a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of an unauthorized person and where such person obtains the firearm. HB 168 is legislation in search of a problem that doesn’t currently exist. The bill’s vague language fails to define critical sections that could potentially ensnare unknowing gun owners, including what is “within reach” or considered “easy access.” It is critical that you contact and urge members of the House Judiciary Committee to vote NO on HB 168!
This proposal has little to do with making children safer and everything to do with making it safer to be a criminal. HB 168 would be virtually unenforceable and in addition to these concerns, there are also safety concerns to consider. The mandatory use of a locking device can greatly diminish reaction times under duress. Being forced to fumble with a lock and key in a self-defense situation could mean the difference between life and death.
If anti-gun legislators were serious about keeping kids safe, they would know that the key to reducing firearm accidents isn't about prosecuting after the fact, it's about educating our children about the safe use of firearms. For that reason, the National Rifle Association developed the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® accident prevention program that teaches children to, “STOP, DON’T TOUCH, RUN AWAY and TELL A GROWN-UP.”
At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that all households are different and have different needs. This reckless bill encompasses every home, not only those with young children residing in them. This one-size fits all approach is a solution to a non-existent problem and is both over-reaching and not based on fact.
Please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote NO on HB 168 when it is heard. Contact information for committee members is provided below.
House Judiciary Committee:
Representative John L. Mitchell Jr. (D-13), Chair
Representative Melanie George Smith (D-5), Vice Chair
Representative Gerald L. Brady (D-4)
Representative James Johnson (D-16)
Representative Sean M. Lynn (D-31)
Phone: (302) 744-4351
Representative William R. “Bobby” Outten (R-30)
Representative W. Charles Paradee (D-29)
Representative Charles Potter Jr. (D-1)
Representative Stephen T. Smyk (R-20)
Representative Jeffery N. Spiegelman (R-11)
Representative David L. Wilson (R-35)