Delaware Making the Wrong Moves on Guns

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Imagine if a state like Delaware decided you had to pass a civics test just to vote. What about a test to make sure you understand an issue before you’re allowed to protest government action?


On one hand, I can see the profound benefits of a civics test for voting or even making sure people understand what they’re talking about before speaking, the fact is that these are rights–one God-given and one the byproduct of our system of government–and we don’t treat rights like that.

Now, Delaware isn’t looking at restricting voting or free speech by requiring training or testing. They wouldn’t dream of it, I suspect.

But it seems some there don’t have a problem with possibly doing so with other rights.

The House Appropriations Committee of Delaware released legislation on Thursday, Dec. 14 that would add Delaware to a growing list of states requiring residents to complete a firearm training course and obtain a permit before purchasing a handgun.

The bill is sponsored by House Majority Leader Melissa Minor-Brown and Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman. Senate Bill 2(S) proposes that most Delawareans can obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if they have completed an approved firearm training course within the last five years. Exceptions to this requirement include qualified active and retired law enforcement officers and individuals already permitted to carry a concealed deadly weapon by the State of Delaware, as they would have already undergone the necessary training.

House Majority Leader Minor-Brown emphasized the importance of firearm safety, stating, “In almost every aspect of our lives, people must undergo some version of training: to operate machinery, for medical purposes, to drive, to serve alcohol, and many other activities. Requiring people who want to buy a firearm to take a training course isn’t some undue burden; it’s basic common sense to learn how to safely load, use, and store a lethal weapon. This will help us reduce straw purchases, keep firearms out of the wrong hands, and ultimately make both the gun owners and the public safer.”


Now, I think getting training before you buy a gun is a great idea. I think everyone should do it.

But Minor-Brown is out of her mind if she thinks requiring training to exercise a constitutionally protected right isn’t an undue burden. Especially when it’s just to buy a handgun.

See, none of those other activities are protected by the Constitution in and of themselves. Yes, you have a right to travel, but the courts have found that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that only applies to public road. I can let my 11-year-old drive on private property and there’s nothing illegal about it. I get sick of that argument.

The same is true for literally all of those other regulations–and quite a few of them I have an issue with as well, if we’re being honest.

So yes, requiring training and a permit before even being able to buy a firearm is an undue burden and I think Minor-Brown knows it is. After all, would she consider such a thing for any other right? Probably not. Even if she thought it was a grand idea, we both know she’d never actually voice support for it. Not if she wanted to keep her political career, anyway.

Moreover, where’s the evidence that people are causing a significant issue buying guns without training and permits? Is there some massive rash of negligent discharges in Delaware that I’m unaware of? Are there mass shootings that are really the result of carelessness that I’m missing?


No, there aren’t. This is a solution looking for a problem. This is the result of lawmakers there not liking private citizens having guns, so they’re putting whatever barriers up they can think of that might survive legal challenge.

Meanwhile, the criminals of Delaware will buy and sell guns without the least bit of concern.

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