Delaware Vote Tracker

Vote Tracker Update: Gun Bills Amended

As you may have noticed, we have been adding some newly filed pieces of legislation to our Vote Tracker and publishing separate articles for each bill that we find of progressive interest.   You can access our Vote Tracker page anytime you want by clicking on the Vote Tracker tab on the main horizontal menu below our Blue Delaware logo on the front page.  You can also see all the recent individual bill posts at the bottom of the front page.

Or you can simply download it here:

As the General Assembly has returned this week back from its hiatus for budget and other hearings, we will be updating this Vote Tracker document every week.

The legislation that is listed is a matter of concern and priority for those of us on the liberal / progressive side of the aisle. The legislator’s names which are colored blue are Democrats. If they are colored red, they are Republicans. Everything else should be self explanatory.  The bills are highlighted in yellow are newly filed bills since the last update to the Vote Tracker.   I have categorized the bills into four catorgories: 1) Ready List, 2) Committee, 3) Passed, and 4) Defeated.

If a bill is on the Ready List, it means it has been released from its respective committee and is on the floor of either the House or the Senate for a vote.   If the bill is Committee, then it is in literally in its respective committee in either the House or Senate.  If the bill is passed, then it has passed both houses of the General Assembly and either will be or has been signed by the Governor.   And if the Bill is defeated, then it has either been tabled in committee, deferred on the floor, defeated in a vote in either House, or vetoed by Governor Carney.

With respect to two important pieces of gun safety legislation, two bills have recently been updated and/or amended.   Representative David Bentz has substituted HB302 with a new bill that incorporates the old HB302 and then adds some new provisions.  Before I get to those provisions, I have question.  Would it not be easier to simply place an amendment with the old HB302, like Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf has done with his HB330?

HB330 is the bill that raises the age limit for gun purchases from 18 to 21.  This new amendment provides exemptions for active members of the Armed Forces of the United States or a qualified law-enforcement officer, and does not apply to any type of bow weapons.

Back to the new Substitute Bill for HB302.  Among other changes and additions, the new bill essentially it answers my only criticism of the bill.  So thank you Representative Bentz.  It now provides for an immediate confiscation/ relinquishment by law enforcement once there is probable cause to believe a gun owner is mentally ill and dangerous to others.    To do that, law-enforcement can obtain an order of relinquishment from the Justice of the Peace Court if the officer has probable cause to believe that an individual who is the subject of a report from a mental health provider is dangerous to others or self and in possession of firearms or ammunition. This process is an expedited process, akin to obtaining a search or arrest warrant. Under this process, if the Justice of the Peace Court finds probable cause, it must order the relinquishment of firearms to law enforcement and may prohibit the individual from residing with others who possess firearms and grant permission for law enforcement to search for and seize firearms. An order from the Justice of the Peace Court is good for 60 days. If the Department of Justice does not file a petition in Superior Court within 60 days, the Justice of the Peace Court’s order is void and law enforcement must return the firearms.

That’s good enough for me.


5 comments on “Vote Tracker Update: Gun Bills Amended

  1. My brother has been mentally ill for decades, months of contact with the police, endless complaints from the neighbors and a concerted effort on my part to get the guns away from him failed. Eventually he got into a standoff with the police, barricaded himself in the second story of my mom’s house and was eventually removed by the police. That did the trick and Mental Illness Court finally removed his right to own guns or explosives. At any given moment he could have gone off his meds and started shooting. The police removed a hand gun and a shotgun, I found another handgun and surrendered it to the police along with a few pounds of ammunition. This was a very obvious, very bad situation and it could have wound up on the front page if you know what I mean.

  2. Jack Polidori

    HB 322, also a Bentz billl, is an excellent compliment to HB 305. Both are needed.

    • Dennis Greenhouse

      We all love Jack. He is right on the merits but wrong on the numbers. The bills are 222 and 302.

  3. waterpirate

    While the order by a Justice of the peace court is a good step when expedience is required. what happens to the guns that are confiscated? What is the process to get them back if falsely accused? A lot of domestic violence disputes are dealt with after hours, and rarely include truth at first blush. A lot of he said she said. So if guns are removed to prevent violence in the moment, and to err on the side of safety, then what after the dust settles?

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