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Following Advocacy From Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, Delaware Senate Passes Bill Requiring Permit to Purchase Handguns

May 2, 2023

Last Week Gun Safety Advocates and Champions Rallied for Annual Advocacy Day and Testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee for Lawmakers to pass SB2, a Life-Saving Bill that Would Require a Permit to Purchase a Handgun

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 Senate for passing life-saving legislation that will require a permit to purchase a handgun. The bill will go to the House before going to Governor John Carney’s desk. Last week Moms Demand Action volunteers gathered at the statehouse for their annual advocacy day to meet with lawmakers to pass SB2. Volunteers also testified in the Senate to support the bill. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Senator Elizabeth Lockman, former Moms Demand Action volunteer Delaware State House Representative Cyndie Romer, spoke at the rally and shared their commitment to pass SB2.

“Last week we showed up at the statehouse to call on our lawmakers to pass legislation that will require a permit to purchase a handgun this session — this week the Senate has responded to the needs of our communities by passing this life-saving legislation,” said Mara Gorman, a volunteer with the Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We applaud Senator Lockman for her leadership in introducing this bill and the entire Senate for prioritizing the safety of our communities. We’re not going to take our foot off the gas pedal until this bill is signed by the Governor.” 

SB2 will require individuals to apply for and receive a permit prior to purchasing a handgun – giving law enforcement an opportunity to deny permits to those who pose a danger to public safety, ensure that all handgun purchasers have completed a rigorous safety training course, and all individuals have completed a thorough background check prior to purchasing a handgun. Requiring permits to purchase handguns will help keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories and will help reduce gun violence throughout the state. 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). 

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.

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