DOVER — Proposed legislation to eliminate the need for a permit for a concealed carry deadly weapon drew widespread reactions during the Delaware Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Wednesday.
The committee heard from the public along with its own members for more than an hour via Zoom, then departed to decide whether to affirm or deny the legislation’s release to the full Senate body.
At the conclusion, however, there weren’t enough votes for Senate Bill 172 to move forward, Republican Minority Caucus Director of Policy and Communications Matt Revel said.
The law would allow a person who is at least 21 years old and not prohibited by state or federal law to carry a concealed deadly weapon, namely a firearm, without needing a permit.
Committee members included primary sponsor Sen. Dave Lawson, a Marydel Republican, along with Democratic Sens. Kyle Evans Gay, of Brandywine Hundred, Brian Townsend, of Newark, and Sara McBride, of Wilmington, along with Georgetown Republican Sen. Brian Pettyjohn.
Among the supporters were Rick Armitage, lobbying for the National Rifle Association, and Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association President Jeff Hague.
Department of Justice representative Deputy Attorney General J.S. Taylor expressed opposition to the measure, along with Mara Gorman of Moms Demand Action and Traci Murphy of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence.
During the discussion, Sen. McBride professed to have “serious reservations” about the legislation and cautioned that crime-related statistics cited by proponents might not necessarily be tied to the effect of concealed carry policies.
Prior to the session, primary sponsor Sen. Lawson explained his rationale for the proposed legislation, saying that, “Our crime rate is going up in Delaware and the prosecution rate is going down. People need some protection and this allows it.”
The process to obtain a concealed carry permit continues to be cost prohibitive and requires a lot of time, Sen. Lawson said.
“Under state conditions now, by the time that you take the class, fingerprints, photographs and all the requirements that go into it you’re spending between $400 to $500 just to get the permit.
“From a social economic standpoint, it’s a block, a prohibiter for people to be able to protect themselves. So those who are in high-crime areas are unable to avail themselves to protection because of the cost that the state takes out before they can even think about purchasing a firearm ...”
Sen. Lawson continued, saying, “New York had a similar concealed carry law that was struck down. Delaware needs to take a step forward to protect its citizens and this bill would allow that to happen.”