Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden joined state lawmakers to unveil legislation that is designed to keep guns away from the dangerously mentally ill and other people prohibited from owning weapons.
The bill would require doctors and other medical professionals to report to police when a dangerously mental ill person has threatened violence against themselves or someone else and has the ability to carry out that threat. As it stands right now, a report like that is only required when the patient is involuntarily committed for treatment.
“This is a very, very important practical common sense approach to making sure that we don’t have to read in the paper another example of someone who it was obvious that they shouldn’t have a gun,” said Biden. “Most of the mass shootings that have occurred in this nation over the last two decades, behind each one of them is someone who common sense and most psychiatrists or medical professional would say is a person who should not be in touch with or have contact with a weapon.”
The measure also gives the courts the power to order that guns and ammunition be handed over by a person who is prohibited from owning a gun. This includes both the dangerously mentally ill and others prohibited from owning a gun. The bill also provides for a process for anyone who was no longer a danger to themselves or others and who can prove that they are no longer prohibited to get their weapons back.
This bill is the latest gun related legislation to be introduced in Delaware following last year’s school shooting in Connecticut. Last week, the state Senate gave final approval to HB 35, which closes the so-called “gun show loophole” and requires background checks for almost all private gun sales.