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SB 53 – Enacting the CDC’s Wilmington Gun Violence Recommendations

As I wrote last year when Senator Dave Lawson first introduced this bill, Senate Bill 53 is one of those bills that make you 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.

Senate Bill 53 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Lawson, Pettyjohn, Ennis, Hocker
Morris, Spiegelman
Current Status: Senate Health & Social Services 1/26/21

Let’s go back in time. 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 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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.

Senate Bill 53 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. Is there any harm to come from implementing the CDC’s recommendations? Remember, this was the CDC under the Obama Administration that made these recommendation, not a corrupted CDC under Trump.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

2 comments on “SB 53 – Enacting the CDC’s Wilmington Gun Violence Recommendations

  1. According to Lawson though, gun violence doesn’t exist. So I’m a bit confused.

  2. cassandram

    As I understand it, the State has taken a look at implementing this report and their assessment was that this risk assessment tool and the database may have some privacy risk in collecting the appropriate data and in putting the data in the hands of social workers, etc. who would make use of the risk assessment tool. That’s about all I was told about this roadblock and confess I don’t get it. Strongly suspect that if some superstar database developer showed up on the state of Delaware’s doorstep to develop these tools as a business opportunity, we’d be throwing money at this person.

    Welcome any better information anyone has, but in an era when opportunities everywhere are defined by how well you can make use of existing data to address existing problems, the State’s position seems contrived. Frankly wonder if this isn’t meant to put the Governor and Democrats on the back foot because we could not find a way to embrace implementation of this very high profile attempt to address Wilmington’s violence issues.

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