Delaware Gun Control May Hinge On 2020 Elections

The state of Delaware is a pretty blue state. That said, it also seems to like guns. It’s evidence that Democrat doesn’t automatically mean anti-gun, though there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that it does. It’s a complicated thing, to be sure.


Earlier this year, anti-gunners in Delaware were handed a significant defeat when an assault weapon ban never even made it to the floor for a vote. Now, it seems that gun control supporters in the legislature think they may have to wait for the 2020 elections to see any movement on their proposed measures.

Gun control advocates were stunned when state Senate leadership shelved legislation banning assault-style weapons, restricting high capacity magazines and creating a permit system to buy firearms.

Senate President Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawk’s Nest) promised a floor vote on the legislation, but he later changed his mind, saying support was almost “non-existent.”

Carney said he’s encouraging House and Senate leadership to pursue gun control bills. He’s also calling for legislation to ban so-called “ghost guns,” which can be hard to track.

“They have issues that are separate, with respect to their, the various tensions in their caucus and members who are up for re-election,” he said. “And that’s something they have to consider, but we ought to continue to try to make progress.”

Senate Majority Whip Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) is the sponsor of the assault-style weapons ban. He said lawmakers could try again next year if more senators support the bills.

Otherwise, he said next year’s election could change the political landscape.

“We just need to continue to be present and committed,” he said. “And then if it doesn’t happen before 2020, then yes, we take a look at the election results, we see what they mean and we go from there.”


If the support for the bill was “non-existent” this year, it’s highly unlikely for there to be that much support next year without a major shakeup in the composition of the legislature. That means 2020 will be key for Delaware gun rights supporters.

Democrats are currently banking on anti-gun sentiment permeating the electorate’s thinking. This is spurred on by a number of polls that suggest overwhelming support for gun control measures. Of course, these are the same pollsters who predicted Hillary Clinton would win in 2016 by a landslide, so I’d take their results with a grain of salt.

However, it remains to be seen how much that anti-gun sentiment will influence elections, even in Delaware. That’s especially true of pro-gun forces in the state are careful and mobilize their numbers properly. If handled just right, even if the state remains blue–something that I’m inclined to think is a foregone conclusion–it’ll still be a state wary of passing gun control.

The truth is, politicians of all stripes are scared of losing the next election. Send them a signal that the need the pro-gun votes and they won’t care what the national party wants them to push. They’ll keep their hands off the guns, just as they did with the assault weapon ban proposal.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member