Gun legislation may not hit the mark

April 19, 2019

There are three bills currently in the Delaware Legislature that their sponsors say will make us all safe from mass killings. I don’t think they will.

Senate Bill 68 would ban the purchase, possession, manufacture or sale of more than five dozen semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns. If you happen to own one or more of these weapons, you would be allowed to keep it, but would be restricted in how they are stored or transported.

Senate Bill 69 would require that all Delawareans obtain a state-issued permit before purchasing a firearm.

Senate Bill 70 would ban the possession of magazines that could hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. The state would buy back magazines for $10 each until June 30. After that date, possession would be a class B misdemeanor. Second offense would be a class E felony.

First of all, the idea of banning firearms to stop mass killings or any gun-related killings is going after the wrong end of the equation. When drunk driving deaths were rising, Mothers Against Drunk Driving did not try to ban cars. They made the punishment for drunk driving much harsher. 

Still, they have run into the same problem we face with guns. People who are addicted to booze have a mental problem, just like people who go on mass killing sprees. When a drunk needs a drink and has to use a car to get one, that’s what he or she will do. When a mentally disturbed person decides he has to kill a certain class of people or just as many people as he can, believe me, he or she will find the guns to do the job.

As far as getting a state-issued permit to purchase a gun, we already have background checks. I fail to see what a state background check would uncover that the already-mandated background check does not. People with an undiagnosed mental illness will slip through the state process just as they do with the background check.

The ban on large magazines is closing the barn door after the horses have gone. There are already millions of these items out there, and I suspect the people who have them will not be turning them in for $10 apiece. Whoever wrote this bill has no idea about the types of people who buy large magazines for their weapons.

Some believe they need them to protect their home and family. Others fear a revolt by their government or an invasion by another country. If you think these folks are going to give up their ability to protect home, family and country for $10, you are sadly mistaken.

I am sure those who wrote these bills have only the best intentions in mind. Unfortunately, they have not considered the unintended consequences these laws will have on law-abiding gun owners. There is no need to turn these people into criminals by passing laws that will not accomplish the intended purpose.

Joe Morris Flounder Tournament

On May 17, the Joe Morris Memorial Canal Flounder Tournament will be held out of Lewes Harbour Marina. The entry fee is $40 and must be paid in cash at the marina before 7 a.m., Friday, May 17. One half of the entry fee will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Fishing hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. All fish must be weighed at Lewes Harbour Marina before 4 p.m., with the clock at the marina the official time keeper.

Last year, those who competed in this contest were brave beyond belief. The weather was as nasty as possible for May, with cold rain and wind, but fish were caught and money was won.

For all information, contact Lewes Harbour Marina at 302-645-6227.

Cast for a Cure

The Cast for a Cure Surf Tournament will be held Saturday, May 18, out of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle. The Tunnell Cancer Center Patient Special Needs Fund is the beneficiary of this contest. Brandy Timmons of Delaware Fisherwoman and Clark Evans of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle are the tournament directors.

Each team will consist of no more then four members, one of whom must be 21 years old. Entry fee is $50 for each team member. All entry fees will go to the charity. There will be $20 Calcuttas for the largest bluefish and striped bass.

Fishing stations will be on Fenwick Island State Park and will be assigned at the team captains’ meeting Friday, May 17.

Fishing report

White perch are the only thing going right now due to the high winds we have had. If and when the weather improves, flounder should be in the canal.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. He has been the regional editor for several publications and was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine. Eric is the author of three books: Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits. He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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