On Wednesday, Delaware District Attorney Kathy Jennings announced the arrest of five people in relation to straw purchasing — the act of illegally purchasing firearms for other individuals. The five people arrested now face over 90 felony charges. During the announcement of the arrests and charges, Attorney General Jennings voiced her support for permit-to-purchase legislation, which, if implemented, would help to thwart this type of illegal gun purchasing throughout the state.
State lawmakers have an opportunity to pass permit-to-purchase legislation in Delaware this legislative session. They should take up SB 3, a bill that would create a handgun qualified purchaser card in Delaware requiring a purchaser to present a valid permit, before any handgun purchase. The legislation was left on the floor of the House of Representatives at the end of the 2021 legislative session. The bill is still up for consideration by the House, who has the opportunity to call a floor vote during this session.
What to know about permit-to-purchase legislation:
- Requiring individuals to apply for and receive a card prior to a handgun purchase gives law enforcement an opportunity to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or public safety, helping save lives and reduce the rampant rate of gun violence, including gun suicides, that continue to devastate the state.
- Nearby states, including Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia, already require a purchase permit for handgun purchases.
- In Connecticut, enacting a permit-to-purchase law helped reduce the rate of gun homicide in the state by 40 percent. Whereas, in Missouri, when the state’s permit-to-purchase law was repealed by the state legislature, the gun homicide rate increased by 27 percent.
In an average year, 111 people die and 279 people are wounded by guns in Delaware. Gun violence costs Delaware $713.7 million each year, of which $36.3 million is paid by taxpayers. The CDC recently released data revealing Delaware had the largest one-year increase in the rate of gun homicides in the nation — experiencing a 45% increase in the rate of gun deaths from 2019 to 2020.
If you would like to request an interview with a member of Delaware Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.