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Delaware House Passes Permit to Purchase Legislation Following Advocacy From Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Volunteers 

March 7, 2024

DOVER, Del. – Today, Delaware Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding the Delaware House of Representatives for passing SB2, following tireless advocacy from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers. This life-saving legislation will require a permit to purchase a handgun. The amended version of SB2 passed by the Delaware House of Representatives will now go back to the Senate for passage. 

“Today is a major victory in the fight to keep our communities safe and guns out of the hands of anyone who poses a risk of harming themselves or others,” said Kristen Bruce, a volunteer with the Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action. “With rates of gun deaths slightly above the national average in Delaware, permit to purchase is a critical and forward-thinking measure that we desperately need to address this crisis. We’re grateful that our gun sense champions in the House, led by Speaker Valerie Longhurst and House sponsor Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown, followed through on their commitment to pass permit to purchase legislation this session and continue making Delaware safer for all of our communities. We look forward to seeing this amended bill passed in the Senate so that Governor Carney can enact it into law.” 

“The most important thing we can do to prevent young people from being impacted by gun violence is by taking action before tragedy strikes,” said Sydney McLean, a volunteer with the  Hodgson Vocational Technical High School Students Demand Action chapter. “Keeping guns out of dangerous hands can literally mean the difference between life and death, which is exactly what we can now do with permit to purchase here in Delaware. When guns are the leading cause of death for my generation, it’s a relief to live in a state that clearly puts our lives over the gun lobby’s agenda.”

“Permit to purchase is a critical gun safety measure that has been proven to save lives and reduce gun violence — and now thanks to gun safety leaders in the House, it is one step closer to saving lives in Delaware,” said Monisha Henley, Senior Director of State Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety. “Growing up in Wilmington, I know how gun violence can impact a community. Delawareans deserve to feel safe. Fortunately, our lawmakers have passed smart legislation over the last several years to reduce gun violence in communities like mine and permit to purchase will soon be another tool at our disposal to keep our communities safe.”

SB2 will require individuals to apply for, and receive, a permit prior to purchasing a handgun, which will help keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories. By requiring thorough background checks and other reviews, law enforcement will have an opportunity to deny permits to those who pose a danger to public safety. The permitting system will also ensure that all handgun purchasers have completed a rigorous safety training course.

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. Delaware has the 13th-highest rate of gun homicide deaths in the U.S., and Delaware is an outlier among many neighboring states who already require a purchase permit for firearm purchases (Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts). 

In an average year in Delaware, 123 people die by guns and 577 are wounded. 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.

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