Letter to the Editor: Writer says House shouldn’t bury permit-to-purchase bill again this year


For the second consecutive year, the only obstacle to passage of a badly needed law requiring a permit to purchase a handgun in Delaware is a vote in the Democratically controlled House of Representatives.

The state Senate passed Senate Bill 2 more than a month ago and sent it to the House. The House Judiciary Committee released it mid-May and assigned it to the House Appropriations Committee. A similar bill followed the same path in the last General Assembly. If history is allowed to repeat itself, that is where this bill will die. Committee chair Rep. Bill Carson, D-Smyrna, and House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, will bury it, just as they did a year ago.

The handgun permit bill is commonsense legislation. It would add Delaware to a growing number of states that require residents to complete a firearm training course and obtain a permit before purchasing a handgun. The logic is sound. Just as drivers are required to demonstrate knowledge of how to operate a car before receiving a driver’s license, gun owners should be required to show they know how to operate a deadly weapon before being allowed to own one.

A Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions’ report cites the grim statistics that show both firearm suicides and homicides have reached record highs. The report also includes five evidence-based policy recommendations that will reduce firearm deaths. The first item on the list: Implement permit-to-purchase laws.

Most Delawareans — 70% — support a handgun permit law. The measure was approved by Democrats on a party-line vote in the Senate. Now, it is time for Democrats in the House to act like Democrats and represent the interests of their constituents.

Please let Schwartzkopf (peter.schwartzkopf@delaware.gov) and Carson (william.carson@delaware.gov) know you want SS1 for SB 2 out of committee, passed in the House and signed into law this year.

Gerry Cohen

Legislative liaison, Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

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