Last week, Delaware Moms Demand Action volunteers hosted their annual advocacy week in Wilmington. Volunteers called on the state legislature to take action on common sense gun safety measures, including SB 3, a permit-to-purchase bill that would require individuals to acquire a permit in order to purchase a handgun. Volunteers were joined at a rally featuring other gun violence prevention partners such as Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, Latin American Community Center, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Delaware.
During the week, volunteers made over 50 phone calls and knocked on about 150 doors for gun safety throughout the state. Volunteers were featured in press across the state including a piece by WDEL. From the piece:
Mara Gorman, volunteer state chapter lead for Moms Demand Action of Delaware, said before the start of their rally that the best time to have passed this [permit-to-purchase] bill is yesterday, but the second best time is today.
“The bill passed the state Senate last spring, and it is currently stalled in the House. We are urging the House leadership to bring the bill to the floor for a vote,” she said. “The legislature is back in session…We want to have this done before June 30th, so this seemed like a good time [to hold a rally.] Generally speaking, gun violence has been going up. It’s really past time to pass this very common-sense bill. It should have passed last year, or even before that.”
The advocacy week came right after 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. Following the arrest, Attorney General Jennings spoke in favor of passing permit-to-purchase legislation. 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 Whereas, in Missouri, when the state’s permit-to-purchase law was repealed by the state legislature, the gun homicide rate increased by 27 percent.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 in Delaware, 111 people die by guns and 279 people are wounded. In the last decade, gun homicide increased 153%. Gun violence costs Delaware $713.7 million each year, of which $36.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in Delaware is available here.