Senator Dave Sokola is sponsoring Senate Bill 70, which would ban the sale of high-capacity magazines in Delaware. This is either the second or third time this kind of bill has been introduced in the General Assembly over the last few years. The bill either passes one chamber and dies in committee in the other, never acted upon.
Hopefully, the bill’s prospects are brighter this year for a simple political reason that was pointed out by Matthew Albright on Twitter last week: Dems drew the ire of the Gun Rights crowd last year after passing Red Flag and background check bills, and then the Dems suffered no electoral consequences and expanded their majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.
In other words, the Gun Nuts are loud and proud, but they are few and already committed to the GOP. They are not swaying public opinion, so there is no reason to fear them. Indeed, there is a better upside to delivering on common sense gun reforms that the general public wants rather than cowering in fear to a few fringe gun rights grounps.
So back to SB70. This bill defines a high capacity magazine as any ammunition feeding device capable of holding more than 15 rounds. Nine states and the District of Columbia currently regulate how much ammunition can be loaded into a firearm, with all but two setting a more restrictive limit than what is being proposed in Delaware.
This bill also would create a buyback program and give Delaware gun owners until June 30, 2020, to relinquish their high-capacity magazines. After that, possession of large-capacity magazine will be a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class E felony for any subsequent offense.
WHERE IS THE BILL? Senate Executive Committee as of 4/10/19
DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Sokola, Townsend, McDowell, Baumbach, Sturgeon, Bentz, Bolden, Chukwuocha, Heffernan
REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – None
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