Gun Safety Advocates and Champions Rallied for Lawmakers to Require Permits to Purchase Handguns and Increase Police Transparency by Reforming Delaware’s Law-Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights
Moms Demand Action Volunteers Testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on SB2, a Life-Saving Bill that Would Require a Permit to Purchase a Handgun
DOVER, Del. — Today, Delaware Moms Demand Action volunteers part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, alongside survivors of gun violence, and community partners gathered for their annual advocacy day to meet with lawmakers and advocate for gun safety measures to be passed during this legislative session – including SB2, a life-saving bill that will require a permit to purchase a handgun. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Senator Elizabeth Lockman, former Moms Demand Action volunteer Delaware State House Representative Cyndie Romer, shared their commitment to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation this session. Moms Demand Action chapter leader, Mara Gorman also spoke at the Senate Democratic Caucus press conference about the importance of the General Assembly passing SB2 this session. Following the press conference, Moms Demand Action volunteers testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on SB2. This year’s advocacy day also coincides with the 10 year celebration of Moms Demand Action.
“Over the past 10 years, our volunteers have tirelessly fought for safer gun policies and against dangerous gun laws that threaten our communities and our families,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, senior vice president of movement building at Everytown. “Delaware Moms Demand Action volunteers have modeled how we as a nation should be battling apathy with action by leading the nation in passing a historic gun violence prevention package – including becoming the first state in a decade to prohibit assault weapons. Today, we are larger than ever before and stand ready to continue this work until every community is free from gun violence.”
“We came from all parts of the state today to meet with our lawmakers to advocate for life-saving legislation that will require a permit to purchase a handgun because we know that common-sense gun safety laws save lives,” said Anne McWalter, a volunteer with the Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our movement is united, ready to push to the front, and build on our success from last session to pass SB2 and continue making Delaware a national leader in the gun safety movement.”
Requiring permits to purchase firearms will help keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories and will help reduce gun violence throughout the state. Requiring individuals to apply for and receive a permit prior to purchasing a handgun gives law enforcement an opportunity to deny permits to those who pose a danger to public safety and ensure that all handgun purchasers have completed a rigorous safety training course and have completed a thorough background check. The majority of gun deaths in Delaware are from firearm homicide. A 2019 study found that permit-to-purchase requirements were associated with 21 percent lower firearm homicide rates in large cities and 20 percent lower firearm homicide rates in suburban and rural areas. Many of Delaware’s neighboring states already require a purchase permit for firearm purchases including (Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts).
Since the chapters founding, volunteers in Delaware have secured major wins for gun safety including passing a “Red Flag” bill that empowers local law enforcement to work with families to seek a Lethal Violence Protection Order (LVPO) — a court order that temporarily restricts a person’s access to firearms when they pose a risk of harming themselves or others. In 2021, they passed legislation to prohibit ghost guns and keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of domestic violence; and just last year they worked with lawmakers to pass a life-saving gun violence prevention package to hold the gun industry accountable when their bad actions result in harms, prohibit assault weapons, regulate high capacity magazines, strengthen background checks, raise the minimum age to purchase or possess a firearm from 18 to 21, and prohibit machine gun conversion devices.
Volunteers have also had major electoral wins for gun safety last year. Volunteers elected their first slate of gun sense school board members — four out of five candidates who received this distinction won their seats. In November, volunteers elected twenty-six Gun Sense Candidates to the State Senate and State House —- including electing former Moms Demand Action volunteer Representative Cyndie Romer. Just last month, the Delaware chapter leader of Moms Demand Action, Mara Gorman, was named one of the top ten most politically influential people in Delaware.
In an average year in Delaware, 123 people die by guns and 51 percent of gun deaths are by firearm homicide. Gun violence costs Delaware $1.4 billion each year, of which $44.4 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Delaware is available here.