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The Ridiculous Ping Pong Battle between the House and Senate over Bump Stocks

It is a simple bill.   It was a simple bill.  The original bill, HB300, would make it a Class E felony  to sell, transfer, buy, receive or possess a trigger crank or bump-fire device designed to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle, making such weapon function more like an automatic weapon. Class E felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison, though the presumptive sentence a convicted criminal would receive would be approximately 15 months in prison.  This bill passed the House 25-3-11, where 11 Republicans refused to vote in some form of idiotic protest.

Onto the Senate it went, where it ran into NRA supporter Bruce Ennis.  For reasons passing understanding, Ennis demanded an amendment that lessened the penalty that a first offense charge of possessing such an evil device would bring.  Instead of being a Class E felony, the amendment makes the first offense a Class B misdemeanor, and the second offense a Class G felony.   Class G felony are the least serious felonies in Delaware, carrying only a maximum of 2 years in prison, but the presumptive sentence is 6 months.  Class B misdemeanors involve just fines.

The amended HB300 was passed by the Senate 18-1-3.

The House took up the amended bill yesterday, but it threw out the Ennis Amendment and crafted compromise amendments that would 1) make a first offense of possession of a bump stock a Class A misdemeanor (generally up to 12 months of probation if found guilty) and any latter violation a Class E felony while any instance of receiving or transferring a bump stock would still be a Class E felony; and 2) create a buyback program to allow owners of bump stocks and trigger cranks to turn them in to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security or local law enforcement and receive $100 per bump stock and $15 per trigger crank with a deadline of June 30, 2019 (or whenever the allocation of $15,000 runs out, whichever comes first).

The House then passed their amended bill 37-4 and sent it back to the Senate.  The two Democrats who voted no last time, Carson and Mulrooney, voted no again.  They must love gun massacres.  Confusingly, the one Republican who voted no last time (Smyk) voted yes this time, while two new Republicans who did not vote last time (Collins, Postles) voted no this time.

So, what now?  Bill sponsor and House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and the House Democrats definitely made the penalties stronger and threw out Ennis weak ass amendment.  Will he accept Longhurst’s penalty amendments?  Will the whole Senate accept the buyback amnesty provision, a provision they rejected back in March.

They should change their minds.  Longhurst did:  “They [the buyback amendment sponsors] had a good argument that really resonated with me, and that was because if you do it at $15,000, hopefully people will have an urgency to turn them in because there’s little amount of money available, so to me it seemed like a quicker way to get them off the streets, and that was really what sold me on the buyback.”

HB300 – Banning Bump Stocks
STATUS – Waiting on consideration in the Senate.
HISTORY – Passed House 25-3-11.  Amended and Passed the Senate 18-1-3.  Amended and Passed by the House 37-4

SPONSORS: Longhurst, McDowell, Townsend, Heffernan, Baumbach, Potter, Cloutier, Henry, Lavelle, Sokola, Bentz, Jaques, Keeley, Kowalko, Matthews, Mitchell, Osienski, Schwartzkopf

YESB. Short, Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Heffernan, Hensley, Hudson, J.Johnson, Jaques, K.Williams, Keeley, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, Matthews, Mitchell, Osienski, Paradee, Potter, Q.Johnson, Ramone, Schwartzkopf, Viola, Bonini, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Henry, Hocker, Lavelle, Lopez, Marshall, McBride, McDowell, Pettyjohn, Poore, Simpson, Sokola, Townsend, Walsh
NOCarson, Mulrooney, Smyk, Lawson
ABSENTSmith, Miro, Richardson, Bushweller
NOT VOTINGBriggs King, Collins, D.Short, Dukes, Gray, Kenton, Outten, Postles, Spiegelman, Wilson, Yearick

YESB.Short, Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Briggs King, D.Short, Dukes, Gray, Heffernan, Hensely, Hudson, J.Johnson, Jaques, K.Williams, Keeley, Kenton, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, M.Smith, Matthews, Miro, Mitchell, Osienski, Outten, Paradee, Potter, Q.Johnson, Ramone, Schwartzkopf, Smyk, Spiegelman, Viola, Wilson, Yearick
NO – Carson, Collins, Mulrooney, Postles


2 comments on “The Ridiculous Ping Pong Battle between the House and Senate over Bump Stocks

  1. wikwox

    Strong bid for ultimate DINO here by Ennis, there is great fear that if he retires a Republican will take his place, my question remains how shall we tell the difference?

    • Well, if nothing changes this cycle (i.e. if we do not pick up the 4th SD) then the difference will be Greg Lavelle as Majority Leader of an 11-10 Republican Majority in the Senate.

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