Update: Amended Bill To Restrict Magazines Approved In House
Legislation to restrict large-capacity magazines and revise criminal statutes outlined in the original bill has passed in amended form in the House of Representatives.
Magazine capacity would now be limited to 20 rounds for a handgun and 30 rounds for a long gun. Also, the crime of ‘selling, purchasing, receiving or transferring a large-capacity magazine would be created as a class E felony.
The amended bill goes back to the State Senate for consideration.
Representative Nnamdi Chukwuocha, D-Wilmington, said Wednesday the amendment was filed based on concerns that have been raised during the review process. The amendment would change language passed in the Senate version which 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.”
That description would apply to nearly all magazines sold with firearms from the manufacturer. Chukwuocha said that would effectively outlaw standard magazines, a conflict with the intent and purpose of the bill.
“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,” Chukwuocha said. “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,” Chukwuocha added.
The amendment also calls for charging a person who possesses a large-capacity magazine during commission of a felony with a class B felony, which carries a prison sentence of two to 25 years. “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.”
More about the amendment:
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. For this offense, “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.
A proposed mandatory relinquish-and-buyback program would also be eliminated.