DOVER, Del.- Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has released the draft legislation for one piece of a five-part plan for gun control in the First State. He announced the framework for each part in mid-January.
The bill released Wednesday would require the reporting of a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours of discovering its disappearance. A person who doesn't do that would face a misdemeanor. Repeat offenders could be looking at a felony and potentially lose the right to own a gun.
The governor also wants to require background checks for all private gun sales. WBOC News wanted to know what kind of support the expanded background checks plan is getting.
It is easy to find guns for sale in Delaware through print publications and the Internet. Some ads are from licensed dealers. Many are not. It was through one of those ads that we found Bill Hopkins.
"Currently, I'm using the guide to sell a long gun, a shot gun," he said. "I won the gun at a Ducks Unlimited event."
Hopkins has been hunting since he was a kid.
"The gun is not what I'd prefer to hunt with. Therefore, I'm looking to sell it."
He says his ad was in The Guide two weeks in a row. He got a ton of calls. But next to none of those were from people he'd be comfortable selling to.
"A lot of people are asking to buy this gun without going through a dealer and having the gun legally, the serial number in their name. I refuse to sell it like that."
Hopkins says he supports more background checks for gun purchases.
"I absolutely agree with that," he said. "I can't believe we haven't done something before."
State Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, said this part of the gun control proposal looks to be getting a fair amount of support in Legislative Hall - compared to some of the other measures. Scott thinks there is agreement it is important to keep guns away from certain people.
"So, broadening the background check seems to be logical step to address that specific issue. I think that's why it's getting broader support."
WBOC called a dozen people with ads for guns. The majority were for more background checks in theory - but wanted to see the specifics of Delaware's plan. Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, says it will be tough to write a law that effectively requires more checks.
"That's very hard to do," Sen. Hocker said. "Why should a father need to do a background check on his son?"
Support for one part of the proposal doesn't mean support for all parts. Hopkins isn't a fan of a measure that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in the First State.
"If you keep the gun out of a person's hand, who you have to be concerned with, it really doesn't matter how many bullets it holds."
Lawmakers will take up all five parts of the gun control proposal when they get back to Leg Hall next month.
There is a similar background check proposal to Delaware's at the federal level. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed more than 90-percent support nationwide for that. The NRA has come out against expanded background checks. The organization says it will lead to a national gun registry.
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