AP Photo/Michael Conroy
Throughout the nation, more and more states seem to be trying to look at how to restrict a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. What’s more, it sure looks like more and more of those proposals are passing. It’s hard not to be concerned that the Second Amendment’s days are somewhat numbered.
However, in Delaware, the Second Amendment may well have dodged a bullet.
Delaware gun control advocates are criticizing state Senate leadership for backing away from a promised floor vote on all gun bills.
The measures would have banned assault-style weapons, high capacity magazines and required a permit to buy firearms.
Senate President Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawk’s Nest) and Senate Majority Whip Nicole Poore (D-New Castle) declined to join State Sens. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North) and Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) in releasing the bills from the Senate Executive Committee. It’s a stunning reversal by McBride, who chairs that committee. He’s previously said he would make sure the bills reached the floor this year. Here’s what he said just last month.
“They’re going through Executive Committee because I’m going to get them out,” he said. “It’s important because I think that the Senate needs to stand up and tell Delaware where they are on all gun bills.”
But this move effectively kills the bills this year. A person familiar with Democratic Senate caucus conversations about additional draft legislation on ghost guns and open carry in school zones are also unlikely to move forward with them.
This is big.
Delaware was poised to take on some particularly insidious anti-gun bills, bills that would have far-reaching ramifications on citizens’ ability to defend themselves from criminals. It was set to happen and what do we see? Poof!
Just like that, the anti-gun hopes and dreams disappear.
McBride said in a statement that he’s holding these bills because he feels the sponsors need to build a broader consensus among their fellow lawmakers. “To achieve that support, the proponents must, in my view, effectively address at least three issues raised in committee: the effectiveness of this legislation in achieving its intended purpose; the constitutionality of these bills; and the criminalization of what are now legal activities,” he added.
He went on to argue that he feels this would best be achieved by negotiations, not by a protracted floor debate.
However, I beg to differ on that last bit. The truth is, none of these measures are the least bit constitutional. Heller alone presents the constitutional argument against an “assault weapon” ban–after all, the so-called assault rifle is the most popular firearm on the market, making them certainly in common use–and magazine restrictions were already shown to be unconstitutional by a federal court.
So, I don’t think that consensus would be achieved through negotiations.
The difference is, I don’t see that as a bad thing. On the contrary, defeating bills like this should constitute something akin to a holy mission. Infringing on the rights of ordinary Americans should be defeated and defeated often, especially as it won’t have any impact on crime.
The citizens of Delaware can breathe a sigh of relief. At least for now.
However, they also need to be vigilant because this will come back up again.