Senate Passes Permit to Purchase Gun Bill

Senate Bill 2S, which would require a permit to purchase a handgun, passed the Senate yesterday by a party line vote of 15-6. Senate Majority Whip Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, the bill’s prime sponsor, released the following statement:

“I am grateful to my Senate colleagues for voting today to save lives.  Senate Bill 2 is a common-sense public safety bill that will increase the level of responsible gun ownership in Delaware, while reducing the bloodshed and devastation we see here in the First State on an almost daily basis.” 

We know strong handgun permitting laws in other states have lowered the rates of gun-related homicides and gun-related suicides. We know they reduce the chance that guns end up in the hands of children, persons prohibited, and others intent on harming themselves or others. And we know the vast majority of Delawareans support these policies. 

My hope is that the changes we made to Senate Bill 2 today will help ensure the bill reaches Governor Carney’s desk for his signature and we finally get a strong permitting law on the books here in Delaware.” 

Senate Bill 2 – Permit to Purchase GunsCurrrent Status – Senate Passed 15-6. Sent to the House.
House SponsorsMinor-Brown, Baumbach, Griffith, Romer, Morrison, Chukwuocha, Johnson, Longhurst, NealSenate SponsorsLockman, Townsend, Sturgeon, Gay, McBride, Pinkney, Sokola
House Yes VotesSenate Yes VotesBrown Gay Hansen Hoffner Huxtable Lockman Mantzavinos McBride Paradee Pinkney Poore Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh
House No VotesSenate No VotesBuckson Hocker Lawson Pettyjohn Richardon Wilson
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

Under SB 2, most Delawareans could obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if they have completed an approved firearm training course in the last five years. Qualified law enforcement officers, qualified retired law enforcement officers, and anyone permitted to carry a concealed deadly weapon by the State of Delaware would be exempt from that requirement because they already would have been required to complete a firearm training course. 

After completing a training course, state residents legally eligible to purchase a handgun would then submit a permit application to the State Bureau of Identification. The Bureau would then have 30 days to fingerprint the applicant, confirm they are legally allowed to own a handgun, and issue a handgun qualified purchaser permit required at the point of sale. 

The legislation includes no application fees and places no restriction on the number of handguns that could be purchased during the 180 days that a qualified purchaser permit is valid. 

The Bureau would be required to notify applicants of a permit denial in writing. Anyone denied a permit would have 30 days to request a hearing before the Justice of the Peace Court, which would be required to schedule a hearing within 30 days. 

Similar legislation introduced by Sen. Lockman in 2021 passed the Senate but the House killed it. 

One notable change included in SB 2 is a requirement that the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security provide vouchers to cover the full cost of firearm training for anyone whose household earns less than 200% of the federal poverty guideline. 

A similar permit law that was passed in Connecticut in 1995 has been associated with a 28% reduction in that state’s firearm homicide rate and a 33% decrease in its firearm suicide rate. Conversely, Missouri recorded a 47% increase in its firearm homicide rate and a 24% increase in its firearm suicide rate when its permit-to-purchase law was repealed in 2007.   

Strong permit laws also have been found to help prevent gun trafficking and the diversion of guns to criminals. States with strong permit laws are associated with 76% lower rates of guns exported to criminals.  

To date, at least 14 other states and the District of Columbia have adopted some form of firearm permitting law, including New York, New Jersey and Maryland. A recent survey found that 74% of registered Delaware voters support gun permit policies, regardless of geography, party affiliation or gun ownership. 

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

2 comments on “Senate Passes Permit to Purchase Gun Bill

  1. Hezzie Schools

    This bill is unconstitutional and will be overturned. It will not reduce crime nor prevent criminals from obtaining firearms Its only real purpose is to make it more difficult for law abiding Delaware citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and to create a searchable database of firearms and the firearm owners. Additionally it will create a larger and more expensive state bureaucracy to administrate it for no real benefit to the citizens of Delaware.

    • cassandram

      Fox News tell you to say that? Many states have a permit to purchase law and many of these states are associated with fewer gun crimes. It’s a successful piece of gun policy.

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