Despite Pressure from Second Amendment Advocates, Bill Hiking Ag - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Despite Pressure from Second Amendment Advocates, Bill Hiking Age for Rifle Purchases in Delaware Advances

Posted: Mar 28, 2018 6:55 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del. --- Legislation raising the minimum age at which a person can buy a rifle in Delaware was released on Wednesday by a state Senate committee, despite a peaceful show of opposition from more than 200 Second Amendment advocates who gathered at the statehouse to protest the bill and other recently proposed gun control measures.

The legislation was released by the Senate committee and is scheduled for a floor vote on Thursday. The proposal was initially written to ban the sale of all long guns to anyone under 21 years old, though the current version of the bill was scaled back to exclude shotguns and muzzleloaders.

The proposal also includes exemptions for qualified law enforcement and active service members.

However, many of the Second Amendment advocates who visited the statehouse prior to the committee meeting believe the bill is unconstitutional and does not solve issues with gun violence in Delaware.

Mitch Denham of Lincoln, who helped organize a gathering of gun owners who rallied on the Legislative Mall together before visiting lawmakers' offices, said he believes the House bill and other legislation like a proposed ban on certain models and types of semi-automatic weapons won't be effective.

"It's feel good legislation to help people feel like 'oh we're doing something' when it really is doing nothing," he said.

Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel) offered a sympathetic ear to many of the demonstrators who visited him. He believes recent gun control proposals being circulated in the legislature are unconstitutional and would cost the state money in litigation.

"Why are we passing more laws that only hamper the law-abiding citizen? That is ludicrous," he said.

But House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach), a chief House sponsor on the legislation, said he believes the proposed law would be constitutional and potentially prevent someone as young as 18 from legally obtaining a rifle and using it cause harm.

"While the constitutional right to bear arms is real and I understand it's real, and I agree with it," he said. "The states have the right to restrict and modify, so that's what we're doing."



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