Gov. John Carney signed six gun safety bills June 30 that included prohibiting possession of assault-style firearms, placing age limits on gun purchases, and allowing gun stores and gun manufacturers to be sued.
“This legislation is about providing sensible gun safety legislation with the context of Second Amendment rights,” Carney said during a signing event at Legislative Hall.
House Bill 451, sponsored by Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, and Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, increases to 21 the age of a person to whom another person can sell or transfer a long gun or ammunition for a firearm. Federal law requires a buyer to be at least 21 years old for all handgun purchases, but only 18 years old for long guns, including rifles and shotguns. State law had mirrored those federal requirements.
“The research shows that 18 is a delicate age, and allowing teens to walk into a store and purchase a firearm is inviting problems,” said Schwartzkopf in a previous press statement. “It’s long past time that Delaware led on this issue and raised the age for buying a rifle to 21. I’m glad we’ve been able to reach the finish line on this bill, which will save lives.”
House Bill 450 prohibits the sale and possession of assault-style firearms, with exceptions for law enforcement and those who purchased the weapons before the bill was signed.
House Bill 423 designates the State Bureau of Identification to conduct background checks for gun purchases in the state.
Senate Bill 302 allows someone harmed by the gun industry’s recklessness or negligence to sue for damages and other relief, while permitting the Delaware Department of Justice to seek an injunction prohibiting that gun industry member from continuing to engage in those actions.
Senate Bill 8 outlaws apparatus such as a Glock switch that turns a semiautomatic firearm into a machine gun, while a substitute act for SB 6 limits high-capacity magazines. Carney recounted a recent shooting in Wilmington in which a machine gun device was used. “This bill specifically limits those,” he said.