Governor Carney Signs Senate Bill 2(S)–Gun Safety Legislation; DSSA Filing a Federal Lawsuit Challenging the New Law


The Permit to Purchase law–Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 2– that Governor John Carney signed today (May 16th) aims to reduce gun suicides and community violence–making Delaware families and communities safer. The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association released a statement in response that… “DSSA believes this legislation is unquestionably unconstitutional under both Delaware’s Constitution and the Federal Second Amendment. For that reason, and that reason alone, DSSA is filing a federal lawsuit challenging this law.” See their full statement below. Also…

Governor Carney issued the following statement today after signing Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 2:

“As I said in my State of the State Address, reducing gun violence in our communities is a shared priority, and we’ve made progress these past seven years. We have banned assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines. We’ve passed red flag laws and prevented straw purchases. And signing this piece of legislation is another important step forward to help keep our communities safe. Thank you to the Members of the General Assembly for passing this legislation. I also want to thank bill sponsors Senate Majority Whip Tizzy Lockman and House Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown, as well as Attorney General Kathy Jennings for their leadership on this legislation— along with the many advocates who have supported gun safety efforts in our state.”

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long issued the following statement on Thursday after
Senate Bill 2(S) was signed into law by Governor Carney.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis that deserves time and attention from policymakers. Today,
Delaware took a strong step toward safer communities. I applaud the Governor, our Attorney General, legislators, and especially the countless advocates for sounding the alarm that we need to do more to protect our kids and families,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “Permit to purchase is a proven method to make our state safer and help save lives in Delaware by increasing responsible gun ownership.”

“We’ve seen this issue become all too real; gun violence has caused far too many families to live with
an empty seat at their kitchen table. Throughout my legislative career, I’ve voted for common-sense gun safety laws, including one of the first iterations of Delaware’s red flag law. I’m proud to continue supporting those bold steps forward and to stand with our champions today in support of this important bill and our families who have lost loved ones.”

Other Info from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office:

National data shows that gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. Going further, research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) cites that an estimated 4.6 million U.S. children live in homes with at least one loaded and unlocked gun.
Delaware law currently requires the safe storage of firearms, which is a best practice to help to protect both adults and children from dire consequences.

Over the last five years, the First State has pursued comprehensive gun safety legislation. In 2022, Governor John Carney signed a historic package of common-sense gun safety bills including measures to strengthen background checks and raise the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms.

Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association Responds to Governor Carney’s signing of Senate

Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 2, “Permit-to-Purchase.”

DOVER, DE — May 16, 2024 —
Today, Governor Carney signed into law Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 2, otherwise
known as the “Permit-to-Purchase” bill. This legislation is a politically-motivated, ill-advised and
unrealistic attempt to address the rising violent crime in Delaware. Supporters will tell you that
this legislation will reduce straw purchases of firearms as well as assist in the reduction of
suicides. Neither position is supported by any credible research or by any currently existing
evidence. In fact, the real evidence supports the proposition that if people that violate the law,
criminals, are held accountable for their actions, much greater headway can be made in reducing
all crime, including violent crime.
The lawsuit being filed in U.S. District Court outlines how this legislation violates the rights of
every Delawarean and will make us less safe. Without a doubt, “A right delayed is a right denied.”
“Permit-to-Purchase” intentionally delays citizens at risk from exercising their right to keep and
bear arms for defense of self, family, home and business. Victims of domestic violence are
especially harmed by this legislation as are others whose well-being has been threatened by
would-be violent offenders.

This legislation is just another example of legislators and government officials demonizing
objects rather than holding criminals responsible while ignoring the studies conducted by the
federal CDC suggesting how to address those problems. It is well known that criminals, by
definition, do not obey the law. Too many defendants are released on unsecured or no bond for
violent offenses. Permit-to-Purchase does nothing to protect the public from these miscreants.
In effect, what this legislation actually does is give unelected bureaucrats the unfettered
ability to decide which citizens of Delaware get to exercise their constitutional right to keep and
bear arms, even law enforcement.

“Permit-to-Purchase is an open invitation to the unethical and politically motivated to discriminate based upon the vague, arbitrary and capricious language of the bill. It also runs roughshod over the right to not be subject to unlawful search and seizure. DSSA believes this legislation is unquestionably unconstitutional under both Delaware’s Constitution and the Federal Second Amendment. For that reason, and that reason alone, DSSA is filing a federal lawsuit challenging this law. This is another, in a long line of cases, where the General Assembly has blatantly and intentionally ignored the Constitution and pandered to those that would see our rights infringed upon because they believe we as law abiding individuals are subject to a government that thinks they know better how to live our lives.

DSSA has always stood for every citizen’s ability to exercise their constitutional right to keep
and bear arms, for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational
use and will continue to do so.

Likewise, DSSA has always stood for equal protection of the law and fought against laws that
discriminate based upon race or economic status. This ill-considered and ill-advised legislation
discriminates against all Delawareans who are economically challenged.

The DSSA has always advocated for ideas and policies that would have an impact on reducing
crime and criminal behavior. However, DSSA does not believe in any way that legislation such as
this will impact criminal behavior. It will only deprive those law-abiding citizens and law
enforcement of the right to defend and protect themselves. Even law enforcement agrees that
when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

When presented with the opinions of nationally recognized legal scholars stating that this
Permit-to-Purchase scheme is undoubtedly unconstitutional, one legislative leader said “So, sue
us”. Today we did.