The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” 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.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.

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