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State Democratic lawmakers in Delaware are looking to revive a push for gun control measures in the wake of the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, including a bill to create a handgun permit that has so far stalled in the legislature.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings, in a statement Wednesday, responded to both the school shooting in Uvalde, in which a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers dead, and the recent shooting in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where a gunman killed 10 people. Both shootings have revived calls for gun control measures across the country.
Jennings called for both a ban on “assault rifles” and the passage of Senate Bill 3 — which would require a permit and training before a Delawarean could buy a handgun.
“Our state and our nation must choose change, including a ban on the military-style assault rifles that both shooters are reported to have used,” she said in a statement. It’s also long past time for Delaware to pass into law Senate Bill 3, legislation creating a permit to purchase firearms.”
“This proven, popular legislation would broadly and substantially reduce gun homicides, gun suicides, and gun trafficking,” she said.
The bill was passed in the Senate last year without Republican support, but has so far not seen a vote in the state’s House. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats. A similar bill to limit the size of magazines also passed the Senate, but has similarly not been voted on in the House.
‘The House has the power right now to save lives by sending this bill to the Governor’s desk; in doing so it would have not only my support, but the support of 70% of our State. It is not too late for us to do the right thing,’ Jennings tweeted.
Democrat State Sen. Laura Sturgeon was one of a number of lawmakers who also called on the House to pass SB3 next week.
“Delaware can pass SB3 (Permit to Purchase) the first week of June. It’s awaiting action in the House. Hold us accountable,” she tweeted.
Crime scene tape surrounds Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday, May 25. (AP/Jae C. Hong)
Republican state Rep. Steve Smyk, a former Delaware State Police trooper, said in a statement to Fox News Digital that shootings like that in Uvalde are typically “the work of troubled individuals with profound mental illness.
He noted prior legislation the state has passed, including a “red flag” law that can be used to limit gun ownership if an individual is proven to pose a danger to themselves or others.
“What we need are changes to current law that will allow us to detect sooner individuals suffering from mental health issues in time to get them the help they need and deny them access to firearms,” he said.
“By contrast, [SB3] is misdirected, establishing a new process that will only be complied with by those who are legally responsible,” he said. “In fact, the proposal amounts to a regressive tax, potentially adding hundreds of dollars in compliance costs for citizens seeking to exercise the rights granted to them under the state constitution to possess and use firearms – a burden that will fall heaviest on Delawareans with modest incomes.”
“The reality is we can do something about these horrific tragedies. In every state in the nation, and in Congress, we have the ability to pass legislation to make it harder and harder for people to get their hands on weapons that cause these mass murders,” he said.
“We have made progress here in Delaware, but it isn’t enough. I’m committed to working with the General Assembly to continue doing our part to prevent these shameful, appalling, unnecessary tragedies,” he said.