By Jeff Mordock
Delaware Law Weekly
Governor Jack Markell today signed a bill that would require criminal background checks for all Delaware gun sales, including the transfer of sale of firearms between private parties.
Under the legislation, known as House Bill 35, licensed firearms dealers will be required to perform background checks and required to maintain records of the background checks in accordance with state and federal law.
The General Assembly had considered legislation to address the private sale loophole at least six times since 1990, but none of those bills ever made it to a floor vote, according to the governor’s office.
Markell unveiled the legislation in March at a ceremony attended by Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, Attorney General Beau Biden and former Governor Mike Castle, a Republican. A collection of the top police chiefs in Delaware also attended the event, which was at the Carvel State Office Building.
“Thanks to your hard work, your dedication and your passion, today we are closing the private sale loophole once and for all,” Markell said in a released statement. “No longer will we have two different markets for the sale of firearms – a regulated market for dealers and an unregulated market for everyone else. No longer will our laws draw a meaningless distinction between dealers and non-dealers when it comes to requiring background checks. And no longer will we tolerate a system that too easily allows criminals to acquire guns and commit more crimes. You made this happen – each and every one of you.”
The background check bill was also praised by several city mayors, including New York’s Michael Bloomberg and Wilmington’s Dennis P. Williams.
“After more than 40 U.S. senators shirked their responsibility to protect the American people by voting against comprehensive background checks, Delaware stepped up and made reform a reality at the state level,” Bloomberg said.
Williams echoed Bloomberg’s appreciation of the bill’s potential impact.
“By passing comprehensive gun reform legislation, Governor Markell and Delaware’s legislators stood with the overwhelming majority of Americans who have demanded action to help save lives,” Williams said.
Jeff Mordock can be contacted at 215-557-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JeffMordockTLI.