Delaware Vote Tracker

HB 125 – Banning Ghost Guns – Passes House

The House yesterday passed Representative Valerie Longhurst’s bill to ban ghost guns by a vote of 23-18. Democrats Andria Bennett, Bill Bush and Bill Carson joined all Republicans in voting no, for reasons passing understanding. I guess they all love untraceable guns that can be built at home and not be detected by metal detectors. They love assisting criminals in their crimes, I suppose.

In the Senate, I guess we can expect Bruce Ennis to join the Republicans there in voting no, but I cannot envision any other Democrat voting no, so the bill will likely pass there as well. The only other Democratic Senator that I thought could possibly vote no on a gun bill is Nicole Poore, and she is the prime sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

Sales of untraceable firearm components skyrocketed in 2020. Ghost guns are firearms with no serial numbers or other identifying markings, making them untraceable by law enforcement and often undetectable by metal detectors. These firearms can be made at home using kits, sold by unlicensed dealers, and purchased without a background check. This enables individuals – even those who are prohibited from possessing a firearm – to circumvent background check laws. 

Under federal law, only the receiver – which houses the firing mechanism – is considered a firearm and is subject to a background check. The other components, such as the barrel, can be bought and sold without a criminal check. However, retailers have exploited a loophole by selling “unfinished” receivers, also known as “80%  receivers” – which don’t require a check. These receivers can be made fully functional with minimal effort. 

House Bill 125, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, would make it illegal to:

  • Possess or manufacture a covert, undetectable or untraceable firearm.
  • Transport, ship, transfer, or sell an unfinished firearm frame or receiver.
  • Manufacture or distribute a firearm made using a 3D printer.
  • Distribute instructions that would allow a 3D printer to manufacture a firearm, firearm, receiver, or major component of a firearm.
  • Transport, ship, possess or receive any firearm or receiver with the knowledge that the manufacturer’s serial number has been removed, obliterated or altered.

Criminal charges for violating parts of this proposed statute vary between Class D and Class E felonies. Individuals who possess an unfinished firearm frame or receiver with no serial number would have 90 days to comply after the bill’s enactment into law.

According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, eight states, including neighboring New Jersey, as well as the District of Columbia have enacted laws to at least partially address the problem of undetectable or untraceable guns. Further restrictions have also been implemented at the local level.

House Bill 125 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Longhurst, Dorsey-Walker, Heffernan, Lynn, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Schwartzkopf, Baumbach, Bentz, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Matthews, Morrison, M.SmithHouse Passed 28-13. Baumbach Bentz Bolden Brady Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton
Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick Bennett Bush Carson
Poore, S.McBride, Sokola, Townsend, Gay, Hansen, Lockman, Paradee,
Current Status — Senate Judiciary 5/20/21

“From closing the gun show and Charleston loopholes, to passing red flag laws, to expanding background checks, Delaware has been at the forefront of gun safety legislation,” said Rep. Longhurst. “Troublingly, individuals are constantly looking for loopholes to circumvent these laws. Ghost guns, which can be easily obtained online and built at home, are a terrifying way to bypass law enforcement, especially for people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

“By passing this comprehensive and common-sense bill, we’re taking an important step toward protecting Delawareans from gun violence by keeping unlicensed firearms out of the hands of criminals.”

“Ghost guns are specifically designed to avoid detection and skirt existing law, making them a clear threat to public safety,” said Sen. Nicole Poore, the bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate.  “Delaware needs to get ahead of this rapidly evolving technology now and close this loophole once and for all. These homemade weapons can be just as deadly as other types of firearms and are potentially easier to obtain for people legally barred from owning a gun.”

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

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