Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is urging the state Senate to reconsider a bill that would ban individuals deemed a threat by mental health professionals from owning guns.
The bill, which failed to pass earlier in the year, would require mental health professionals to report individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others.
But some contend it could have a negative impact.
The measure could discourage Delawareans from seeking mental health care, said Eric Boye, chairman of the First State Liberty political action committee. It’s also an overreach of the state’s power, he argued.
“This is all based on the hunch of what a person might do,” said Boye. “Not the actual intent of a person, not [the] actual carrying out of a crime, having law enforcement act on that.
“They’re not supposed to be able to pre-empt in such a fashion.”
State Rep. Mike Barbieri, a Democrat, sponsored the bill the first time around in the Delaware House.He said he’s made some changes to try to broker a compromise with Republicans. The modified bill would require more proof of a threat before weapons are removed.
“This bill is not an attack on mental health or mental illness. It is basically an opportunity to have people who are potentially not thinking clearly, have guns removed until they are better able to function,” said Barbieri.
“Again, it’s not an automatic, it goes through the police, the police have to investigate, then it goes to the AG’s office, then it goes to the courts, and then it goes to potential securing of the weapons,” he said.
The Delaware chapter of the National Rifle Association withdrew its opposition based on the compromise language.