Wilmington, Delaware – The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) announced its support today for House Bill 35, a bill which would require criminal background checks for almost all sales of firearms. The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the State House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
The bill, sponsored by nineteen legislators (prime sponsors: Representative Valerie Longhurst and Senator Harris McDowell), is a critical step forward in modernizing Delaware’s gun laws. Delaware has the weakest gun laws in the region. Too many people are dying or being injured due to gun violence, including the recent tragedies on the soccer field in Wilmington, at the New Castle County Courthouse, at Dover’s Whatcoat Apartments, and at law enforcement officers’ homes in Sussex County.
Currently, federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to perform criminal history background checks on firearms purchasers. However, when the sale or transfer of a firearm does not involve a licensed dealer, no background check is required. National estimates suggest that as many as 40% of gun sales occur outside of federally-licensed gun shops where there is no background check; this is a huge loophole which allows criminals, minors and other prohibited persons to purchase guns.
House Bill 35 would require that a criminal history background check be performed in connection with the sale or transfer of all firearms, with limited exceptions. Background checks would be performed by licensed firearms dealers, who are already required to conduct a background check whenever they sell a firearm or when requested by private parties.
Following in the footsteps of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, DeCAGV is working to share the view of many Delawareans that one can support the second amendment and demand sensible gun laws.
DeCAGV will be formally announcing its formation and platform on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:15 in Legislative Hall in Dover. Further information to follow.