Firearm dealers Delaware gun laws permit

Handgun permit, training bill returns to Senate for vote on changes

Katie KazimirGovernment, Headlines

Firearm dealers Delaware gun laws permit

A bill that would require Delaware residents to have firearm training and pay for a permit before buying a handgun was the subject Thursday of a barrage of proposed amendements.

After hours of wrangling over 11 proposed amendments Thursday, a bill requiring a permit and training to buy a handgun passed the state House in a different form and was sent back to the Senate for consideration.

Under Senate Bill 2(S), most Delawareans could obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if they have completed an approved firearm training course in the last five years.

It would exempt qualified active and retired law enforcement officers and anyone permitted by the state to carry a concealed weapon from that requirement because they already would have been required to complete a firearm training course.

Eleven amendments to the bill were heard on the floor, with the House voting to approve three sponsored by House Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, a co-sponsor of the bill, and one sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeffrey Spiegelman, R-Clayton. 

Minor-Brown said requiring a training course for people purchasing a gun is not an “undue burden.”

“It’s basic common sense to learn how to safely load, use and store a lethal weapon, which will make both the gun owners and the public safer,” she said.

House Amendment 2 extends the length of time a permit is valid from one year to two, allows local law enforcement agencies to ensure the surrender or removal of handguns purchased with a revoked permit, and removes the training course voucher program.

Spiegelman said Thursday that removing the voucher for the training program could potentially set up an economic barrier to get a permit to get a gun and make the legislation economically discriminatory.

House Amendment 6, sponsored by Spiegelman, would reduce the cost of the required training program and exempt already trained professionals and individuals from the required course. 

House Amendment 10 details what information may be retained by the State Bureau of Identification and exempts application information from the Freedom of Information Act.

House Amendment 11 requires that a person whose job training requires firearm training is exempt from repeating it for the permit.

House Republicans proposed several other amendments, however, the majority of these failed.

“I respect that the House felt that some changes were needed to get Senate Bill 2 across the finish line and I am committed to getting their amended version through the Senate and on to Gov.  John Carney for his signature,” said Senate Majority Whip Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, the prime sponsor of SB 2 (S).

Strong permit laws have been found to help prevent gun trafficking and the diversion of guns to criminals, a press release from the House Majority caucus stated.

GOP questions need for permit

Joseph Fulgham, director of policy & communications for the House Republicans, said the GOP questions just how effective this legislation will actually be.

Fulgham pointed out that Attorney General Kathy Jennings never gave a clear answer Thursday when questioned about the number of people involved in gun crimes legally allowed to use a weapon.

“Law-abiding citizens aren’t the ones committing crimes,” Fulgham said. “The attorney general dodged the question multiple times because it doesn’t fit with her narrative that this is going to reduce crime,” he said.

He was able to find relevant information on illegal possession of guns during crimes committed in a report titled Delaware Shootings 2020 – An Analysis of Incidents, Suspects, and Victims.

Of the 158 people suspected of being involved with a shooting that year, more than three-quarters, or 77%, had at least one arrest for a violent felony, with 57% having at least three such arrests, the study found.

“Not only that, the crime data revealed that victims have similar arrests or convictions,” Fulgham said. 

Of the 346 shooting victims, 73% had at least one violent felony arrest, with nearly 55% having three or more.

“While the report did not include data on how many of these earlier arrests resulted in convictions, people found guilty of violent felony offenses are prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm in Delaware,” Fulgham said. 


The Delaware State Sportsmen Association suggested Friday morning that its members look at who voted yes on the permit bill.,

A 2021 study found that 74% of registered Delaware voters support gun permit policies, regardless of geography, party affiliation or gun ownership.

“A strong majority of Delawareans support this policy, and today the House showed that these constituents are seen and heard,” said Traci Manza Murphy, executive director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence in the Democratic press release.

The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association is not among those who approve the move to require a permit to purchase a handgun.

“It is a fact that over 80% of all violent crime…is directly related to drugs and gangs, yet these senators refuse to address the root causes of such crimes,” said DSSA President Jeff Hague in a written statement.

A Facebook post from DSSA the morning after the House voted 23 to 16 to approve SB 2(S) said: 

“Take a close look at this list. Everyone with a ‘Y’ next to their name sold out your rights to the anti-constitutional rights lobby.

“They voted to approve ‘Permit to Purchase,’ adding hundreds of dollars and months of time in order for the law-abiding to exercise their constitutional right. A right delayed is a right denied.” 

DSSA  has vowed to sue the state over the unconstitutionality of the bill should it pass into law.

If the amended bill passes in the Senate, with a vote expected next week, it will head to Gov. John Carney, who already has voiced his support for SB 2(S) earlier this week during the State of the State address for his signature to make it law.

If, however, the bill should be amended again in the Senate– somewhat unlikely because the Senate has a Democratic supermajority, it would be returned to the House for yet another vote.


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