Delaware Legislation Released Today Adds Requirement Before Purchasing Handgun
The House Judiciary Committee today released legislation that would add Delaware to a growing list of states that require residents to complete a firearm training course and obtain a permit before purchasing a handgun. Under Senate Bill 2(S), sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman and House Majority Whip Melissa Minor-Brown, 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 active and 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. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf noted that under House Rules, SB 2(S) has been reassigned to the House Appropriations Committee.
“In almost every aspect of our lives, people must undergo some version of training: to operate machinery, for medical purposes, to drive, to serve alcohol, and many other activities. Requiring people who want to buy a firearm to take a training course isn’t some undue burden; it’s basic common sense to learn how to safely load, use and store a lethal weapon, which will make both the gun owners and the public safer,” said Rep. Minor-Brown, D-New Castle South.
“We have taken another important step in making Delaware a safer and more responsible state by advancing this bill out of the Judiciary Committee today. The next step in the process is making sure we have the funding to actually implement the law, which is why SB 2 must go to Appropriations: we have to budget the funds before we pass it. I am hopeful that the Joint Finance Committee will provide the funding for permit-to-purchase so we can send the final bill to Governor Carney to sign into law.”
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf noted that under House Rules (specifically, House Rule #20), SB 2(S) has been reassigned to the House Appropriations Committee. Under that rule, any bill with a fiscal note estimating that it would cost $100,000 or more in any one of the next three fiscal years must be reassigned to the Appropriations Committee, which is comprised of the House members of the Joint Finance Committee. SB 2(S) carries a fiscal note of more than $2.8 million in fiscal 2024 and would exceed $7.7 million in both fiscal 2025 and 2026.
Next week, the Joint Finance Committee, 12-member panel of representatives and senators from both parties charged with drafting the state’s operating budget, will begin markup, a period when the committee takes the governor’s recommended budget and begins voting on specific funding requests, essentially writing the budget.