Letter to the Editor: Requiring permits to purchase firearms called unconstitutional


Contrary to a recent letter that says the permit-to-purchase bill is “commonsense” legislation, I would maintain that it is anything but (“Writer says House shouldn’t bury permit-to-purchase bill again this year,” June 14). There is not a growing list of states passing this type of nonsense legislation. The fact is, there are fewer states passing this kind of legislation. As of Jan. 1, 2021, 13 states and the District of Columbia had licensing requirements (Rand Corp., Jan. 10, 2023). Around March 29, 2023, North Carolina repealed its permit-to-purchase requirement, said by some to herald back to Jim Crow days and was discriminatory and racist.

Gerry Cohen refers to obtaining driver’s licenses as being on par with obtaining firearms. A history lesson is in order here. There is clearly a difference, and the logic is not sound. Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege granted by the state. The right to keep and bear arms is an inalienable right delineated in the Bill of Rights and, as with the other of the first 10 amendments, a right the government cannot infringe upon.

References are also made to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. That organization receives funding from Michael Bloomberg and is considered by many to be partisan organization that advocates for banning firearm ownership. Reference is also made to “record-high” suicides and homicides. The Rand Corp., a nonpartisan research group, has found that permitting of handgun purchases may have an impact; however, overall, there is little credible evidence that those types of laws work. Suicides account for an average of about 67% of firearm deaths from 2016-20. Thirty-one percent of homicides involved firearms during the same period. Studies show that the worst 2% of counties (62) contain 31% of the population and have 56% of the murders. Those counties encompass most urban areas of the U.S. The reason: drugs and gangs (John Lott).

I would submit that most Delawareans do not support permitting laws. The 70% figure quoted did not tell us what questions were asked and by whom. Any surveys done by an organization funded by Michael Bloomberg are suspect.

Delaware’s Constitution and the federal Constitution both have amendments that enshrine the right to keep and bear arms. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, NYRPA v. Bruen, reaffirmed that right in no uncertain terms. Back in 1792, it was not required that a citizen ask a government official permission to purchase or possess a firearm. That requirement did not happen until recently.

As I have said many times, the object is not the problem; the person behind the object is the problem. Until society deals with the people that are committing violent crime and begin holding them accountable for their actions — and not coddling them like our Democratic attorney general, as well as many other Democratic socialists in the General Assembly — our streets will not be safer.

Jeff Hague

President, Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association


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