Democrats are using bully tactics

December 26, 2023

A controversial bill seeking to require law-abiding Delawareans to get a government permit before they can acquire a handgun was recently moved one step closer to becoming law through the most shameful of tactics. 

Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 2, also known as the Permit to Purchase bill, flies in the face of the constitutional right granted to all Delawareans to acquire, possess and use firearms for hunting, recreation and defense. 

House and Senate Democrats, who enjoy large majorities in both legislative chambers, are pushing the bill through the process, believing this infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens will prevent criminals from acquiring and using handguns. 

A study by Delaware's Criminal Justice Council Statistical Analysis Center exposes this flawed assumption. As detailed in Delaware Shootings 2020 - An Analysis of Incidents, Suspects, and Victims, of the 158 people suspected of being involved with a shooting that year, more than three-quarters (77%) had at least one arrest for a violent felony, with 57% having at least three such arrests. Of the 346 shooting victims, 73% had at least one violent felony arrest, with nearly 55% having three or more. So, although previously convicted felons are apparently responsible for the bulk of gun-related crimes, Democrats believe these criminals will obey their Permit to Purchase bill once it’s enacted. 

In the service of their ideological zeal, House and Senate Democrats have shed any pretense of caring or considering any perspective not in lockstep with their own. 

Consider that the latest version of this bill was introduced in the Senate on May 2 and passed by that chamber on the same day, cutting corners on public notification and consideration. The bill cleared the Senate easily, with Democrats using their 15 to 6 supermajority to bully the measure through the chamber and effectively gag critics. 

On Dec. 14, Democratic lawmakers continued their despotic handling of the bill by releasing it from the House Appropriations Committee without a public meeting or advance notice of the action. 

The legislation had to move through the committee because it carries a one-time cost of more than $2.6 million to implement and nearly $8 million annually to operate. 

Rather than hold a hearing, as is usually done with most bills assigned to House committees – giving the public an opportunity to weigh in on the issue – committee Chair Rep. Kim Williams, D-Marshallton, chose to allow the measure to be “walked” out of the committee.  The insider mechanism allowed the four Democrats on the committee to release the bill by simply giving their consent, not only excluding the two Republican committee members, but keeping the action secret from them.   

The first notice the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee received about the bill’s release was after House Democrats issued a press release praising themselves for their clandestine activities. 

While no laws were violated, Democratic legislators have sent two clear messages through their deeds. First, they will push the Permit to Purchase bill through the House, likely soon after the General Assembly reconvenes on Jan. 9.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, they have told all Delawareans that transparency and public inclusion in the legislative process are disposable concepts that they are free to disregard at their whim. 

House and Senate Democrats are self-assured that their policies are entirely correct, and any other viewpoint is not only not worthy of being entertained, but must be silenced and pushed aside.   

Delawareans, through their individual choices at the ballot box, have inadvertently created a functionally oppressive regime that tolerates no dissent and has no adequate check against its authority. Only the will of our citizens, collectively expressed through their selections next November, can return our state government to one that embraces diversity of thought and makes decisions built on prudent consensus. 

Rep. Mike Ramone is a Republican who represents District 21 in Newark. He serves as the House minority leader. Rep. Lyndon Yearick is a Republican who represents District 34 in Woodside. He serves as the House minority whip. 


  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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