Just one week after 56 people, most of them against House Bill 35, shared their concerns at one of two public hearings on the universal Background Check bill for all gun sales, some amendments are now being added to gain more support from those who aren’t quite sold on the bill.
Rep. Valerie Longhurst, (D-Bear), lead sponsor on the bill has announced that public testimony along with a series of meetings, numerous phone calls and e-mails from constituents, and even concerns raised by local NRA members, were taken into in account as the amendments were drafted.
“That is what the public process does – it allows residents to voice their support and concerns about legislation, and we ultimately can craft a stronger bill that is fair to all Delawareans,” said Rep. Longhurst who also met with officials from the Delaware State Sportmen’s Association.
Some of the suggestions that will be added to the gun legislation are as follows:
• Explicitly providing that the state shall not establish a system of firearm registration;• Exempting from the background check requirement persons who have a valid concealed carry permit;• Reducing the maximum fee a dealer can charge for a background check from $50 to $30;• Providing that transfer records cannot be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act;• Defining “transfer” to clarify that handing over a firearm for repair, certain short-term loans and transfers upon death of the owner are not transfers requiring background checks;• Prohibiting fees when a repaired firearm is returned to its owner, or to return a firearm to its owner when a person fails a background check during a private sale;• Allowing persons with “bona fide” religious objections to photo IDs to undergo fingerprint background checks through the State Bureau of Identification, addressing concerns voiced by the Amish community;• Exempting sales of curios and relics to licensed collectors, which was a concern raised during last week’s hearing;• Providing due process for firearms dealers.
“This shows that we have listened to the NRA’s and gun-rights advocates’ concerns, and where there is agreement, we are making those changes,” added Rep. Longhurst. In the case of a state registry the amendment calls for the current system to remain in place where potential gun buyers would still be screened, but the results would not be part of a permanent record.
HB 35 would require a background check on all gun sales and transfers, whether it involves a licensed dealer or private seller.
In the meantime,the public is urged to review amendments when they’re filed on Wednesday since a floor vote in the House is expected to take place on Thursday.
“The question now is whether the NRA will join us in supporting this common-sense measure to help keep firearms out the hands of people who should not have them, or if they will simply stand in the way of taking reasonable action,” said Longhurst.