Delaware AG Biden wants strong gun penalties

Add a proposal for tougher penalties to the list of gun related legislation that state lawmakers will consider this year in Dover.  

A group of lawmakers joined Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden this morning in Wilmington to unveil the legislation designed to increase penalties for violent criminals.  The measures will be introduced in the General Assembly over the coming weeks.

The plans include a mandatory one year sentence for those convicted of unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm.  Currently, there is no minimum sentence for this crime.  “Individuals most likely to carry and use guns in a crime pose the greatest threat to our families and communities,” said Biden.  

The package of legislation also includes a proposal to add the crime of possessing a firearm during a felony to the list of crimes that trigger enhanced penalties under the state’s habitual offender statute.  “The bottom line is that there are too many people on the streets of this city of Wilmington and across the state carrying weapons and doing violent things in our communities, and we need to take action and today we are taking action,” said Biden. 

Also in the package, a proposed increase in prison time for gun crimes committed by those who have been previously convicted of a violent felony.  “We view these bills as game changers,” Biden said.  “They will help put the most dangerous offenders in jail for longer where they cannot hurt anyone, especially our kids.”

In addition to support from state lawmakers, Delaware FOP president Fred Calhoun also pledged the support of his organization in getting these bills approved.  “We have had meetings over the last few months to figure what we need next to help us prevent some crime in the state of Delaware,” said Calhoun.  “What we need is to make the citizens safe and what we need is to help bring businesses here. Safe city means more business and it’s good for the state in general. We are 100 percent behind this legislation.  We will support it to the very end.”

Earlier this year, Governor Markell unveiled a separate package of legislation designed to strengthen Delaware’s gun laws including background checks for all gun sales, a ban on assault weapons and large magazines, and mandatory reporting of stolen weapons.  

Also earlier this year, Biden proposed legislation to make bail requirements tougher for those charged with violent crimes while out on bail.  He also is behind an effort to amend the state constitution to keep high-risk, dangerous offenders behind bars while they await trial.

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