On Friday, October 2, Delaware Governor Jack Markell will sign SB-83, a bill that extends protection from gun violence in dangerous domestic abuse situations. The bill passed the General Assembly in June after an extensive campaign by a coalition of domestic violence groups and advocates of sensible gun laws.
The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) was instrumental in this campaign. We marshaled allies across the state and nation, including numerous local groups and national organizations such as States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the Center for American Progress.
DeCAGV does not take credit for this legislation. We acknowledge that voters across Delaware saw its merit and urged their legislators to support it. Our contribution to its success was in connecting advocates for women (the principal victims of domestic violence) with those who seek a sensible, practical approach to stemming the epidemic of gun injuries and deaths plaguing Delaware and the nation.
At a senate hearing on SB-83 in early June, more than 25 witnesses testified in favor of the common-sense bill. The law will
- Prohibit gun possession by a person convicted of misdemeanor dating-partner violence within the past 3 years
- Prohibit gun possession by any person convicted of a violent misdemeanor against a former cohabitant (who lived with the perpetrator) during the past 3 years
- Ensure that domestic abusers ordered to surrender their guns to a police agency or to a federally licensed gun dealer. Subjects will also be required to identify to the court that they have surrendered their firearms
- Prohibit gun purchases by an abuser while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse orde
- Prohibit gun purchases by an abuser while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse order
DeCAGV thanks leaders in both the Delaware Senate and House for sponsoring and supporting this bill, which will become effective on January 1, 2017. The primary sponsor in the senate was Sen, Margaret Rose Henry; in the House it was Rep. Valerie Longhurst.
The bill will be signed during a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the YWCA Home Life Management Center—which provides long-term shelter and services fro victims of domestic abuse.