State Passes Strict New Handgun Legislation

( – At least 29 states currently allow residents to carry a firearm without a permit. While Conservatives have made it easier for people to exercise their Second Amendment rights, Democrats have made it harder. That’s the case in Delaware.

On March 7, Delaware’s House passed a bill that would require anyone who wants to purchase a handgun to get their fingerprints done by the State Bureau of Identification (SBI). The legislation would also require them to complete a firearms training course. SBI would have 30 days to investigate the person applying for a permit and decide if they are qualified. The agency would keep the person’s identifying information indefinitely.

Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown (D) sponsored the bill. She told reporters that states with “permit laws have 25 percent lower gun homicide rates, 50 percent lower gun suicide rates.”

Lawmakers passed the bill 23-16. The legislation passed the Senate last May. Republicans called the bill rushed. Conservatives also tried to pass amendments that would reduce the financial burden the legislation had on prospective gun buyers and taxpayers. Analysts estimated the bill would cost the state $3 million to implement and $5 million annually.

Governor John Carney (D) included $2.9 billion to fund the permit program. Opponents of the bill argued it creates a financial burden for law-abiding citizens who want to exercise their state and federal constitutional rights.

Ron Smith, the Republican House attorney, said he thinks the law will be deemed unconstitutional.

Republicans managed to get an amendment approved that exempted some people from the training requirement, including military members and certified firearms instructors. Democrats responded by passing another amendment that restricted the scope of the GOP amendment.

A federal court recently ruled a similar law in Maryland is unconstitutional. That one is still being litigated. Despite that ruling, Delaware’s Democrats pushed ahead with the legislation, knowing it could be struck down.

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