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.


The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Together we will forge a large and strong public voice of Delawareans working to reduce gun violence. For further information, visit

Delaware Lax Gun Regulations: The Brady State Ranking

Compared to neighbor states, Delaware has lax gun laws. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks each state according to the effectiveness of its gun regulations. As shown in the following table, Delaware is at the bottom of the list or neighboring states.


State Ranking Criteria: Brady Campaign1
Possible Score: 100 Points
State 100 = Perfect Score
New Jersey 72
New York 622
Maryland 45
Pennsylvania 26
Delaware 13
Virginia 12
2. Rank before New York recently passed major gun legislation. See >>

Because Delaware has so many close by state neighbors it could as an “exporter” of firearms to nearby states, all with tougher gun purchase and use regulations. While Delaware was recently found to be a net importer of guns used in crimes, other states’ new laws may quickly change Delaware to a net exporter.

TheWashington Postseries, “The Hidden Lives of Guns,” is an excellent source of information on how guns are bought, moved across state lines and overall “maneuvered” to avoid local laws. See: with the interactive map on how guns move across state lines.

To examine the ranking elements important to the Brady Campaign in their state analysis, the following highlights issues and regulations that The Brady Campaign deems important

State Ranking Criteria: Brady Campaign
Possible Score: 100 Points

1. Curb Firearm Trafficking (Maximum 35 Points)

A. Gun Dealer Regulations (Maximum 12 Points)

B. Limit Bulk Purchases (Maximum 5 Points)

C. Record Retention (Maximum 5 Points)

D. Crime Gun Identification (Maximum 10 Points)

E. Report Lost/Stolen Guns

2. Strengthen Brady Background Checks (Maximum 40 Points)

A. Background checks on all gun sales

B. Permit to Purchase (Maximum 21 Points)

C. Ammunition Regulations (Maximum 2 Points)

D. Ban Assault Weapons (Maximum 10 Points)

E. Large Capacity Magazine Ban (Maximum 5 Points)

3. Child Safety (Maximum 7 Points)

A. Child Safety Locks (Maximum 5 Points)

4. Guns in Public Places and Local Control (Maximum 8 Points)

A. No Guns in Workplace

B. No Guns on College Campuses

C. Not A CCW Shall Issue State

D. No State Preemption

Pew Research Survey: Gun Regulations Support v. Gun Lobby Intensity

In mid-January, 2013, The Pew Research Center released new survey data on the “Gun Control Debate.” The complete results of the survey and the Pew analysis can be seen at:

Following are their key Pew charts and tables with some summary comments. The data makes the point that while the majority of US citizens support more sensible gun regulation measures; this “majority view” is offset by the intensity and activism of the “gun rights” group.

The data reinforces the need of the “majority view” group to build grass-roots, broad-based, strong coalition of people that are informed, vocal and politically active. Over time, the “majority view” for sensible gun regulations will develop the momentum and activism of the “gun rights” group to influence US gun policy in a positive way.

This will be a long-term effort and is a foundational strategy of DeCAGV.

Survey Results Summary

policy_graph1Pew Research Center Survey for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults. Released:January 14, 2011

Highlights of the chart to the right:

  • 85% of respondents favored background checks for private gun shows.
  • 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
  • There are comparable survey results from republicans, democrats and independents for questions related to items 1 and 2.
  • Two thirds of those surveyed favor a federal data base to track gun sales.
  • 58% of respondents favor a ban on “semi-automatic” weapons; 55% on “assault” type weapons. This response indicates confusion over the definition of weapon type; assault, semi-automatic; automatic.
  • 57% oppose officials with guns in schools.

Gun Control Opinion, Historical Data Tracking:

  1. policy_graph2Pew historical data is shown below, from 2007. Pew has similar data trend back to 1993.
  2. Overall, not much change in respondents views about gun control and “gun rights” shortly after Newtown.
  3. In fact, there is little change in gun control views going back to 1993 surveys.

Data shows that today, more people want to protect American’s right to own guns than in 2007.

Activism Gap Favors Gun Advocates

  1. Those favoring “gun rights” are energized to gives money to likeminded groups and politicians.
  2. Similarly, “gun rights” people and groups are more politically active than gun control.
  3. policy_graph3Summary: Gun rights advocates are more intense and active on gun issues and policy than the gun control group. They are more politically active.

Conclusion: Intensity of gun rights advocates can offset favorable broad public support (“majority view”) or gun control advocates.