Markell Expected to Sign Gun Control Bill - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Markell Expected to Sign Gun Control Bill

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- Gov. Jack Markell is expected to sign a bill, passed by the Delaware legislature late Tuesday, that would change the amount of time buyers would have to wait to purchase a gun if their background check does not come back.

The bill, passed by the Senate with a 12 to 9 vote late Tuesday afternoon, increases the length of time from 3 days to 25 days. An earlier version of the bill would have increased it to 30 days, but a Democrat-sponsored amendment changed it to 25 days. A Republican-sponsored amendment to move it to seven days failed.

The bill cleared a final vote in the House chamber after returning Tuesday night with that Senate amendment. No House Republicans voted in favor of the legislation. The bill now heads to the governor's desk. Markell's office tells WBOC he will sign it.

"The governor supports common sense legislation that will keep weapons out of the hands of those barred from owning them," Courtney McGregor, Markell's press secretary, said in a statement.

People and lawmakers who support the bill say it is a common sense measure that does not restrict anyone's rights.

If a buyer passes a background check immediately, that person can buy the gun and there is no wait. If the background check does not come back, the buyer would need to wait for it to clear until the 25-day period elapses. At that point, the dealer can sell the gun if the background check still has not come back. Not all businesses that sell guns will sell it at that point.

Opponents of the legislation say it is a constitutional issue and that the bill denies the right for an unreasonable amount of time.

Sen. Colin Bonini (R-South Dover) made a constitutional argument at Tuesday's debate using the press as an example. Bonini said the media should not be prevented for almost a month from writing an article the government has questions about, just as someone buying a gun should not be prevented from buying it.

Sen. Karen Peterson (D-Stanton) responded, saying no one is being asked to wait unless there is an issue with their background check.

“For the average, law-abiding citizen, this bill would have no impact on their ability to purchase a gun. If you walk into a store to buy a gun and pass a background check, then you would be able to leave with your gun, just the same as you can today,” said Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Newark), the bill's sponsor. “This is not a hypothetical situation. It already has happened, and in at least one instance, it was a horrific tragedy.”

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