for Handgun Laws
Marchers in Dover
Saying he wants to curb gun-related violence in Delaware, Governor Thomas R. Carper joined a rally with the state's Million Mom Marchers and other gun control supporters on the steps of Legislative Hall on Wednesday, May 10, 2000.
Gov. Carper and the other rallyers urged the Delaware General Assembly to adopt firearm safety measures to prevent kids and criminals from obtaining guns.
The Million Mom March on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14, 2000, will call on Congress and the 50 state legislatures to enact measures protecting children and the public from gun violence. Approximately 500 Delawareans are expected to participate in the march.
Delaware's General Assembly is expected to consider firearm safety measures in the near future. Those proposals are designed to prevent criminals from obtaining guns, require safety locks on handguns, and encourage law enforcement agencies to purchase firearms from safety compliant manufacturers.
"Though we've made strides in recent years in restricting criminal access to guns, significant loopholes and inconsistencies in our laws have made Delaware far too attractive for gun trafficking," said Gov. Carper.
"Legislation alone cannot prevent gun violence. But gun safety measures that the legislature will soon consider promise to go a long way toward protecting our kids and keeping guns out of the hands of those who would harm our law-abiding residents. By enhancing gun safety and curbing the proliferation of illegal weapons, we'll be taking important steps toward reducing the troubling trend of gun violence."
With instant background checks for new firearms purchases, more than 650 illegal firearm sales to criminals are prevented each year in Delaware, according to the governor's office.
Carper said, however, that current state law provides a significant loophole for criminals by allowing the private sale and transfers of used handguns without a background check.
More than 50 percent of all handgun transactions in Delaware occur in the secondary market, Carper said, so records checks are not conducted on the majority of handgun purchases and transfers in the state.
Delaware is the only state in the region that allows private sales and transfers without a records check. According to law enforcement officials, this loophole gives out-of-state criminals incentive to come to Delaware to buy and sell handguns.
Among the bills before the General Assembly is Senate Bill 172, sponsored by Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North). That bill would require background checks on all handgun sales and transfers, both new and used. It would also allow for prosecution of violators.
Senate Bill 335, meanwhile, requires safety locks on handguns. Sponsored by Sen. Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), the bill requires dealers to put external safety locks on guns that are sold in Delaware and requires guns manufactured after Dec. 31, 2002, to have a built-in locking device.
Finally, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East) will soon introduce a joint resolution to encourage Delaware's law enforcement agencies to purchase firearms from safety compliant manufacturers that meet designated safety guidelines.
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