Locking Devices on Guns

Sussex County Online User Forums: Sussex County Delaware Discussion Forum: Locking Devices on Guns
By Eric Magill on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 07:45 am:

Senate Bill 190 proposes that licensed handgun dealers in Delaware include locking devices on all guns manufactured after Dec. 31, 2002. Do you believe this is an infringement on the rights of gun owners or an important child safety measure? Click "Add a Message" to voice your opinion here.

By M.Opaliski on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 09:00 am:

Eric -

This legislation makes the sale of any handgun that was manufactured after December 31, 2002 illegal unless it has an internal locking device, thus making the manufacturers responsibile, not the dealers of this state. If passed, dealers would be required to provide an external lock with guns manufactured before December 31, 2002. There is a huge difference in those two provisions.

Manufacturers of handguns are not going bother developing products with components that bring them into compliance with Delaware Law, they simply won't offer their products for sale here. This legislation is a back door approach to limit the sale of handguns in Delaware ... despite the claims being made by the sponsors.

By Pat Patterson on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 09:47 am:

So, in other words, the state of Delaware is, in theory, trying to force the gun companies to comply now. That's what I get from reading your (may I add very well written) article.

Yeah, right...the gun manufacturers will modify their entire process of building guns right now because the 48th largest state in the country modified their laws about external and/or internal safeties.

Fear a government that fears your guns...

By M.Opaliski on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 11:09 am:

That is exactly right Pat ... a defacto gun ban.

By Pat Patterson on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 11:21 am:

Seems to me that we don't have this problem in Ohio, with the state government trying to take the guns away.

Question: which county in Delaware is home to the plurality of legit gun owners ?

By Pat Patterson on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 11:32 am:

Question, Matthew...

What county in Delaware has the plurality of legitimate gun owners ?

I might be going somewhere with this, so stay tuned...

By Pat Patterson on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 11:33 am:

Sorry...didn't mean to repeat myself...

By M.Opaliski on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 11:53 am:

I would venture to say that the bulk of legitimate firearms ownership resides in Sussex, with Kent following and New Castle last.

The six legislators that have sponsored this, three senators and three representatives, five Democrats and one Republican reside in the Wilmington area ... the inner city so to speak where thay have been plauged with many shootings over the past few years. However, none that I recall were accidental and none had a child as the shooter ... child in the true sense of the word ... not someone that is under the age of 18 and a gang member.

By Leo Kuneman on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 02:11 pm:

This is just another way of restricting hand guns. Education is the best way to insure safety, not restrictions. The only way to insure safety by restrictions is to completely take away hand guns from the citizens. This is the liberal's (anti-gun) argument and their goal. Bad proposed LAW.

By Pat Patterson on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 04:38 pm:

Gee...how did I know that the plurality of legitimate gun owners were in Sussex County ?

I understand those six legislatures are from Wilmington. I hear, even in these parts, how rough Wilmington can be. But...

Is it me, or does there seem to be a conspiracy in Dover (with state government) against Sussex County ? The gun thing now, trying to abolish the sheriff's department (well, the abolishment of it as you know it)...

I smell a rat, and I'm 500 miles away !

By M.Opaliski on Tuesday, May 28, 2002 - 05:32 pm:

I agree totally Leo, thus the reason that I am trying to make folks aware, unlike some candidates that the party is falling over themselves to support ... I actually care about what happens to our rights.

Say hello to Elizabeth for me if you will, thanks.

Pat ... in this case I cannot see the connection to a Sussex conspiracy. Those that have sponsored this Bill are simply doing what liberals do, which usually amounts to alot of nothing when it comes to really dealing with a problem. They believe legislation covering everyone is the only way to solve problems when that really is no answer ... just an action. They try to shape a government that can be all things to all people ... an impossibility.

By Pat Patterson on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 06:37 am:

Perhaps you're right...I don't live there, so how would I know ?

But it seems lately that Dover has been giving youns in Sussex County a raw deal here lately. And this is just one more example.

By Deaver on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 09:41 am:

Gun control is a must. Too many kids have been killed & too many kids have killed...with handguns.
We have managed to survive in Annapolis, MD & Sussex County, DE for 60 years without handguns.

By M.Opaliski on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 10:02 am:

Deaver -

Thanks for taking the time to chime in on this particular issue with your concerns in reference to handguns and the potential dangers that accompany them. As with any number of man's inventions, they too can be, and often are misused. I'm glad to hear that you have survived for 60 years, and I hope that you live for many more. But, what has this got to do with restricting the rights of those who wish to legally own handguns?

As you have stated you lived for years without them, because it is your right not to own them, and, I would stand at the top of the highest mountain calling out for your right to not have to own a firearm, however I expect the very same from you in reciprocity, thus, you standing at my side calling out for my right to own a firearm if I so chose.

I share your concern in that I too would like to eliminate all weapons, not only handguns from our streets and thus keep them out of the hands of our children, of which I myself have three. However, my stance on this issue is admittedly different than yours in that I vehemently support lawful and responsible firearms ownership, and for the following reasons that will forever remain so.

I will at all costs do what I can to uphold both the United States and Delaware Constitutions, which incidentally under Article I, Section 20, the Delaware Constitution reads as follows -- "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use." That text comes directly from the 20th amendment to the Delaware Bill of Rights, ver batim. Therefore, lest we enter a debate on the intent of the 2nd amendment to the United States Constitution simply for the sake of doing so, you can clearly see that Delaware's Constitution does in fact recognize the right of it's citizens to keep and bear arms for both defensive and recreational use.

As a fellow citizen, as a parent and as an avid shooter myself I place great value in the concern that you have for children in wanting to do what you can to keep them safe and out of harms way. As such I would be more than willing to spend whatever time is needed with you or someone that you know that might have young children to discuss the various aspects of firearms safety. I believe that it is far better to have the knowledge to handle a given situation and never need to call on it rather than to remain close minded to the reality that we may very well face, which may leave us looking back with much regret.

Feel free to contact me at home if you should be interested in discussing this issue further, my home phone number is 349-9356.

By twilliams on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 - 10:39 am:

"Too many kids have been killed & too many kids have killed...with handguns."

A tragedy indeed. But can we reasonably say that because something can be used to produce deadly force then we have to control its use to the point of eliminating it altogether? Especially when there are very explicit protections against such regulation in the documnets that form the foundation for the government which we live under. I would venture to say that there are many more responsible, law abiding gun owners out there than criminal gun owners. So let's punish society as a whole because of the indiscretions of a few.

Here's a question, should we place locks and safeties on baseball bats? They too can produce deadly force if used improperly and they aren't even granted protection by the Consitution.

This type of legislation is typical of the left wing ideology. They get you all worked up about something and offer a solution to "protect" us and that way we willing give up our rights. Look out folks, you never know what will be next.

By Deaver on Thursday, May 30, 2002 - 12:02 pm:

Gun control is a must. Too many kids have been killed & too many kids have killed...with handguns.

By twilliams on Friday, May 31, 2002 - 07:51 am:

Uh, haven't we been there before.

C'mon Deaver, you know it and I know it, you cannot prevent these tragedies with restrictions and "integrated safety devices"

By Deaver on Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 07:21 am:

We are not doe-eyed liberals, we just have different priorities than you. You are busy demanding your "rights;" with us, childrens' safety comes first.
There's room for all kinds of people & many different opinions; may that always be the case here in the USA.

By twilliams on Monday, June 03, 2002 - 08:12 am:

I believe you are correct that childrens safety comes first, but I tell you these restrictions will not help matters at all. The existence of guns is a given, we will never be able to change that. A child who had never seen a gun, never fired a gun or never been taught about a gun is much more likely to have an accident when they do come upon one than the child who was raised to know about the proper use of a firearm. If guns are restricted you place more kids in the former catergory, thereby increasing the likelihood of an accident.

This same paradigm holds true in nearly all areas, the child who was taught to drive by their parents early on, is a safer driver than the kid who just got behind the wheel for the first time in Dirver's ED at age 15. THe child who is raised playing Little Leaugue will often be a better ball player that the kid who plays for the first time as a senior in high school. The key here is to educate the children, familiarize them with the weapon. MOst accident happen becasue of the curiosity kids have about the unknown, if you make it known then the curiosity is removed as is a geat deal of the danger.

Simply put, gun restrictions tend to be like taking advil for a broken leg, yes some of the pain is eliminated, but the problem still is there. If you restrict gun ownership/ sales you may feel like you have done something to help, but there will still be kids getting hurt and killed.

By Francine on Monday, June 03, 2002 - 10:22 am:

What a shame it is that the government feels they have to step in, due to so many parents' lack of commitment to raising and educating their children.

Face it, folks, there will never be a lock or locking device on every firearm in this country. Maybe in your home, but your child won't always be in your home. Give your kids the information and exposure they need to make a sound decision for themselves. I was seven when I got my Red Rider. I don't remember the first time I fired a gun, but I was eight the first time I fired a shotgun. My grandfather and mother taught us firearm safety at a very early age. We shot targets, cans, and boards. We even dug out some of the slugs, and my grandfather showed us the damage they did. I started hunting as a young girl, and while field dressing and butchering deer and waterfowel, I saw how they were killed and knew their flesh was no different than mine. If I wanted to target shoot, I always had some place to go and someone to go with me...someone to teach me. I never had a desire or curiosity to "play" with a gun or touch it when I wasn't supposed to. I knew that much of what I saw on television was crap, because I had seen the real thing. My family provided me with the experience and education I needed to make the right decisions. They didn't try to shelter me from things. After all, they can't be there to make my decisions for me forever.

I have several firearms in my home today that are locked up. I have and always will have one that is loaded and unlocked. I'll not have to ask an intruder to have mercy and wait for me to retrieve, unlock, or load my weapon before he attempts to kill me or my family. My son will be exposed to firearms as I was. If a kid knows there is something in the house he or she is never aloud to see or touch, they'll be naturally curious. And they will find it. If they're curious enough, they will probably find the key you locked it with, too. It's up to me to find a place in my home that's accessible to me and not a small child until he's old enough to be educated about it.

I have the right to bear arms, and I shouldn't be restricted by legislature as to what models and brands of guns I can buy because of the state I live in. Maybe legislature should think more about harsher penalties for those who commit crimes with firearms.

By M.Opaliski on Monday, June 03, 2002 - 04:29 pm:

Excellent points Francine, and to add a little bit of information regarding what you mentioned about harsher penalties, there is a piece of legislation planned to that degree although it has not yet been assigned a Bill number.

Rep. Terry Spence, the House Speaker is planning to introduce legislation that would stiffen the penalties for those who commit crimes with guns. Under current law, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony carries a minimum sentence of three years. Rep. Spence's bill would retain the three-year minimum for possession, but calls for a minimum sentence of 15 years for displaying a gun, a minimum of 25 years for firing it, and life in prison for wounding someone with it.

By Francine on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 03:01 pm:

Thanks for the tip on that piece of legislation, M. I'll keep an ear out for it. I'll gladly support it. But the truth of the matter is that people may be sentenced to those minimums; however, serving them is another story. Most of them get the jail time suspended and end up doing nothing more than probation. It would be more effective if some of those charges had mandatory time to serve, not just to be sentenced. Maybe I should call or write Rep. Spence.

By M.Opaliski on Wednesday, June 05, 2002 - 09:12 am:

Indeed, call him.

Rep. Terry Spence (R) 18th District
26 Freeport Road
New Castle, De 19720
Home: 328-8961
Office: 744-4127

By Deaver on Thursday, June 06, 2002 - 04:16 pm:

Do you favor Senate Bill 190, which would require locking devices on or sold with all handguns sold in Delaware
Yes 52.4% (22)
No 47.6% (20)
Total votes: 42

By M.Opaliski on Thursday, June 06, 2002 - 05:18 pm:

That poll is flawed in my opinion because it addresses only part of the regulations proposed by the legislation. It is easy to solicit a prescribed responce when you tweak the question so as to make if favor the outcome that you are looking for. This is not meant to suggest that was the case with this poll, but it is flawed nonetheless for the reason above.

And, there is an update on the Bill ... will post more when time permits.

By Deaver on Friday, June 07, 2002 - 01:44 pm:

Teen gets 10 years in fatal shooting
By BRIAN M. SCHLETER, Staff Writer
A county judge has sentenced an Annapolis teen-ager to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting another teen he claimed bullied and robbed him repeatedly.

Dermot Chase Jr., 17, never told his mother, friends or police that 15-year-old Timothy Lee Sembley Jr. robbed him at gunpoint four times last summer.

Instead, he bought a 9 mm pistol for $125, believing he could protect himself.

The fifth time Mr. Sembley allegedly tried to rob Chase proved a fatal mistake. Chase shot Mr. Sembley twice in the back.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Chase pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges in January.

Circuit Court Judge Pamela L. North Tuesday faulted Chase for taking matters into his own hands instead of seeking help.

The judge sentenced him to a total 18 years in prison, then suspended eight years. She recommended prison officials place him in a youthful offender program at the Patuxent Institution, a maximum security prison that offers inmates treatment for drug and alcohol use.

During a psychological evaluation, Chase claimed he was high on phencyclidine, or PCP, and had been drinking the night of the shooting.

"I also fault you for using PCP," Judge North said. "That's a dangerous drug. You were a walking time bomb."

Chase must serve a mandatory five years without parole for a handgun charge.

Assistant State's Attorney Frank Ragione asked for a lengthy prison sentence.

"I just think it's a sad commentary these days when you have kids running around in the middle of the night with handguns," he said.

Assistant Public Defender David Harding portrayed his client as the victim of persistent bullying. Mr. Sembley was a good 8 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than Chase. As boys, they were friends. But in the third grade, Mr. Sembley started to bully Chase, Mr. Harding said.

The abuse ceased between 1998 and early 2001 when Mr. Sembley was sent off to juvenile detention centers for a series of juvenile convictions.

But the two teens ran into each other again in July, the first time Chase claims Mr. Sembley robbed him.

After robbing him a fifth time on Sept. 9 in the College Creek Terrace community, Mr. Sembley told Chase to walk away in a certain direction. Chase refused. When Mr. Sembley reached into his waistband, Chase pulled out his gun and fired several times.

"He said he doesn't have a great recollection of what happened other than firing and firing the gun and the car leaving," Mr. Harding said.

Mr. Ragione reminded the judge that no witnesses ever saw the alleged robberies and Chase's story could not be corroborated.

Judge North said the fact that paramedics found a loaded and cocked handgun on Mr. Sembley after the shooting and other evidence supports Chase's account.



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Published June 06, 2002, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright © 2002 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

By Francine on Friday, June 07, 2002 - 04:40 pm:

There you have it. That kid's parents could have had all the safety devices in the world, but it didn't keep him from shooting someone. The guns bought illegally on the street don't have any locking devices. I wonder how much education and experience that kid had with firearms. Unfortunately, it probably came from the street and the television. Besides, it wasn't the gun that killed, it was the person pulling the trigger. We're not talking about an innocent, curious child. Because he's only a matter of months away from legally being an adult, does that make some difference in his judgment? No. The only difference it made was that he'll serve eight years or less for killing someone. After four previously alleged robberies he never once told anybody? And he shot the other kid in the back (which isn't self-defense). While he was high on PCP, of course. That just reinforces my beliefs in the lack of parental direction. This is a kid, who is almost an adult, who made some really bad choices. He's plenty old enough to know right from wrong. It has nothing to do with locking devices on guns, unless you believe that all the hot guns being sold on the street are going to have locking devices on them, too.

By Deaver on Saturday, June 08, 2002 - 08:45 am:

You NRA guys (& girls) just keep on shootin em up & giving your contorted reasons why guns should freely float around our nation. Go ahead. No one will ever be able to make you understand anyway.
Have worked in a legislative capacity. Soon discovered that rhe most rude, obnoxious citizens imaginable were the NRA and the Right to Life folks. No manners, no consideration for others, just plain nasty.
Go ahead keep shootin em up.

By M.Opaliski on Sunday, June 09, 2002 - 10:27 am:

The update on SB 190 ...

That piece of legislation is dead, courtesy of the sponsor. Introduced in it's place, on the Senate floor just prior to the convening of the day's session was SB 402, a substitute to SB 190.

The sponsor, Sen. Marshall requested that the Senate rules be suspended so as to allow him to introduce a fresh Bill on the floor and have it voted on. Normally a new piecee of legislation must go through committee before it moves to the floor for a vote, thus the request. No one offered to second the motion, but Sen. Bonini motioned an objection to the suspension of rules, to which no one offered a second either. There was then a vote by the full body to either suspend the rules and allow the Bill to the floor or to keep with the rules and send the Bill to committee. The vote favored Sen. Marshall and the Bill was then on the floor for discussuion, as SB 402.

As per Sen. Marshall there were six major changes to the legislation and he brought one of the Senate Attorneys to discuss the changes. This discussion went on for a while and seemed only to serve as confussion for the body. After a few rounds of back and forth questions and answers that really made nothing clear Sen. Marshall motioned to excuss the witness.

Next up was a member of the NCCo Police to demonstrate a few locking devices on a few different handguns, this didn't help the legislation along either. He demonstrated a simple cable lock on two firearms and then moved to a firearm with an integrated mechanical safety device. To no fault of the officer, he fumbled with the internal locking device and had to try the key several times before being successful. This was pointed out by Sen. Stills, who also made note that in the chamber it is very bright. He asked the witness how he thought he'd fair with the lock in the dark of night, in the home, if am intruder was thought to be in the house ... to which the officer replied ... "It would be difficult".

Sens. Venables, Winslow, Simpson and Bonini also made comments and asked questions of the witness.

Next up was someone representing the Brady Campaign who went on with statistics, but when challenged on those statistics by Sen. Still he had no answers, only more rhetoric. Again, Sens. Venables, Winslow, Simpson and Bonini made comments. This discussion went on for a while but really went no where and seeing this, Sen. Marshall moved to excuss the witness.

There were a few more witnesses brought by Sen. Marshall, none faired well, and in that I mean that none were able to add anything of meaning to the discussion as to why this legislation was needed.

By now there had been about 2 1/2 hours of discussion, none that I would say really favored the legislation. Before any witnesses were offered in opposition to the the Bill, Sen. Marshall moved to table the legislation until January so that he could work out some the details and draft a few amendments.

The legislation really has no merit and the discussion on the Senate floor did much to point that out. However, you can bet that this will be back again in the future and I will be sure to keep things updated.

By twilliams on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 07:45 am:

"your contorted reasons why guns should freely float around our nation"

Contorted reasons, how about


"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

- 2nd Amendment, U.S. Constitution



"A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use."

- Artice 2, Sec. 20, Delaware Constitution

The only contorted reasoning here is by the supporters of this type of unconstitutional regulation of firearms.

By Francine on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 10:00 am:

"You NRA guys (& girls) just keep on shootin em up & giving your contorted reasons why guns should freely float around our nation."

By the way, Deaver, I DO NOT support the NRA. I personally feel they go a little to far in some of their viewpoints.

And, no, I don't believe that firearms should "float around freely" in this country. I believe in registering and background checks before registering. I think that those people eligible by age, citizenship, and a felony and PFA free record should be aloud to possess firearms.

You're not even comparing apples with apples. You're talking about "guns freely floating around our nation" and that's not the same issue as firearm safety in the home. If legislation had any common sense about them, they would realize that most unnecessary deaths by firearems are committed by using the hot guns that are "freely floating around our nation" and being sold and possessed illegally on the street. That article you posted hasn't got a thing to do with licensed handgun dealers including locking devices on firearms. That young man bought that gun off the street. Do you really believe that if this were to become a law, the criminals illegally selling these guns on the street would be sure to include locking devices? Even that would never resolve issues like the one in your posted article. The issue there is not the law abiding citizen mishandling gun safety. It's the fact that not enough is done about the people who are possessing and selling firearms illegally on the street. Why in the world would you want to restrict the law abiding citizens as a response to what the criminals are doing?!

"Have worked in a legislative capacity. Soon discovered that rhe most rude, obnoxious citizens imaginable were the NRA and the Right to Life folks. No manners, no consideration for others, just plain nasty."

Naw. I have discovered that the most, rude, obnoxious citizens imaginable are the people in legislative capacity...no manners, no consideration for others, just their own personal agenda.

"Go ahead keep shootin em up."

I haven't "shot anyone up" yet, and I think it's rather silly and close-minded to think that someone has gone around "shooting people up", just because they hold firm to their 2nd Amendment rights.

As I said before...my family and I will not die in our home begging some criminal for mercy because I do not have an easily accessible means of self-defense. If you don't feel you can maintain safety in your home or educate your family in firearm safety, and you want to own a firearm, then you go and buy yourself your own locking device for your gun. Don't force it on me.

By six shooter on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 09:31 am:

guns dont shoot people people shoot people

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