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SB215 – Enacting the CDC’s Wilmington Gun Violence Recommendations

Senate Bill 215 is one of those bills that, after I see who is sponsoring it, I wonder what the catch is. Because the bill sounds good, seems straight forward, is based on a scientific organization’s recommendations, and yet it is primarily sponsored by Republicans.

But let’s go back in time for the back story. In 2013, the city of Wilmington experienced a violent shooting spree, with 127 gun violence incidents with 154 victims. That was an almost a 45% increase in the number of shootings over the preceding two years. The Wilmington City Council passed a resolution requesting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in an investigation and provide recommendations for preventive action to bring the gun violence rates down. The Delaware Division of Public Health then issued a formal invitation to CDC to provide epidemiologic assistance and make programmatic
recommendations for a public health response.

On November 3, 2015, the CDC published a report titled “Elevated Rates of Urban Firearm Violence and Opportunities for Prevention – Wilmington, Delaware” in which the CDC made 2 major recommendations: (1) the creation and adoption of a robust risk assessment tool and (2) an integrated, statewide data collection system.

To date, no meaningful action has been taken at any level of government to implement the CDC’s recommendations. So Senate Bill 215 purports to adopts the CDC’s recommendations and directs the appropriate State agencies to implement these recommendations.

You should know that whenever any Democratic Senator or Representative proposed any gun safety legislation that of course would apply across the board, one of the Republican responses was to point to gun violence in Wilmington as if to say “clean up your house first before you come for Sussex guns.” So I sense that that mentality is behind this bill. Still, it doesn’t make this bill wrong. Is there a good reason why the state or the city has not attempted to enact the CDC’s recommendations over the last five years?

WHERE IS SENATE BILL 215? Currently in the Senate Judicial 2/28/20

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS — Ennis, Bush, Carson, Sturgeon, Dorsey Walker

REPUBLICAN SPONSORS — Lawson, Pettyjohn, Speigelman, Delcollo, Hocker, Richardson, Wilson, D.Short, M.Smith

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