Here is another bill that needs some further action and amendment before it passes the Senate and House again. It is Senate Bill 6, the Delaware Large Capacity Magazine Prohibition Act of 2021, er ah 2022.
The original bill that passed the Senate back in April by a vote of 13-8 (with only conservative Democrat Bruce Ennis voing no along with all Republicans) stated that a large-capacity magazine “includes an ammunition feeding device with a removable floor plate or end plate, if the device can readily be extended to accept more than 17 rounds of ammunition.”
The bill then went to the House, and was amended on June 23, which essentially gutted the bill, raising the large capacity limit from 17 to 20 and 30 depending on the type of gun. “Large-capacity magazine” would be defined as “any magazine that exceeds 20 rounds of ammunition for a handgun and 30 rounds for a long gun,” which are standard capacity sizes for those respective firearm magazines from the manufacturer.
Under the amendment, a person in possession of a large-capacity magazine during the commission of a felony would be charged with a class B felony, which carries a prison sentence of two to 25 years. Under that section, “large-capacity magazine” would be defined as “an after-market magazine which increases the designed capacity of the standard magazine manufactured and sold by the manufacturer of the firearm in which it is used.”
The amendment also would establish a crime of selling, purchasing, receiving, or transferring a large-capacity magazine, and would make the offense a class E felony. The original bill carries a penalty of a class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a class E felony for each subsequent offense.
The amendment also would eliminate a proposed mandatory relinquishment and buyback program outlined in SB 6. It was thought back in June 2021 that a separate bill offering a voluntary program may be introduced in January. It hasn’t yet, surprise surprise.
The amendment passed by a nefarious voice vote, which should never be used in controversial votes like this. The bill as amended then passed the House by a vote of 24-16-1 in one of the strangest vote breakdowns you will ever see. Check it out below. You have progressives Paul Baumbach and Eric Morrison voting no along with moderate Andria Bennett, Bill Bush and Bill Carson, plus 11 Republicans. Then you have Republicans Kevin Hensley, Michael Smith and Mike Ramone voting yes with the rest of the Democrats, which include such progressives as John Kowalko, Sean Lynn, Larry Lambert and Madinah Wilson-Anton.
So the question now is whether there will the Senate just bites the bullet (no pun intended) and accept the amended bill or whether it amends the bill again to restore the original intent of the bill, and then we engage in a game of ping pong.
|Senate Bill 6 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Sokola, Sturgeon, Townsend, Gay, Hansen, S.McBride, Pinkney, Poore||Senate Passed 13-8. Brown Gay Hansen Lockman Mantzavinos Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh||Bonini Ennis Hocker Lawson Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson|
|Chukwuocha, Bentz, Heffernan, Kowalko, Lynn, Minor-Brown, Morrison||House Amended and Passed 24-16-1. Bentz Bolden Brady Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey Walker Griffith Heffernan Hensley K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews M.Smith Minor-Brown Mitchell Osienski Ramone S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton||Baumbach Bennett Briggs King Bush Carson Collins D.Short Dukes (Absent) Gray Morris Morrison Postles Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick|
|Current Status —||Sent to the Senate for its reconsideration.|
“When we were confronted with that issue, we had to begin looking at a definition that would address the root issue we are trying to solve. In my community, that problem is extended magazines that allow someone to fire countless bullets without having to reload,” said Rep. Chukwuocha. “Those after-market magazines – the so-called ‘banana clips,’ drums and other devices that hold dozens of rounds – are the contraptions we have to get off our streets and stop selling in Delaware. This amendment provides a clear, realistic and critical step forward in addressing that root problem by creating an enforceable law that can actually achieve its stated goals.”
“Strongly increasing the penalties for those who commit crimes using large-capacity magazines is a goal we all share,” said Rep. Sean Matthews. “This amendment advances that goal and improves public safety.”
“Since I was elected in 2012, we have considered and passed several bills strengthening our firearm laws and protecting residents from gun violence. Whether it’s closing the Charleston Loophole, passing red flag laws or toughening background checks, I’m proud to have voted for every one of these bills and will continue to support all efforts to make our communities safer,” said Rep. Kim Williams. “However, I can’t vote for a bill that would make nearly every gun owner in the state – including myself – a criminal. This amendment gets to the heart of the matter and will address these after-market large-capacity magazines.”