Delaware's "Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act" Signed into - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware's "Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act" Signed into Law

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 7:13 PM Updated:

NEWARK, Del. (WBOC)- Legislation named after former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was signed into law on Monday with the aim of keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act allows authorities in Delaware to seize guns from a person deemed by a mental health provider to be dangerous to themselves or others. A similar bill in 2013 was championed by Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer in 2015, though that piece of legislation failed in the Senate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the father of Beau Biden, attended Monday's bill signing and said his eldest son's work to reduce gun violence was being recognized with the new law.

"Beau promised that he wasn't going to give up this fight. The very night that it lost, those of you who were with beau know that he said...'I will not give this up,'" he said.

Patty Dailey Lewis with the Beau Biden Foundation said Beau Biden bristled at every case involving gun violence and mental illness that his office investigated and he wanted to see something done about the issue.

"It would make Beau more and more upset and frustrated about why we weren't able to do anything," she said.

Under the law, police who are alerted by a mental health provider could immediately ask a Justice of the Peace magistrate for a temporary order requiring the person to surrender any firearms or ammunition if there is probable cause that he or she is dangerous.

The case would then be referred to the attorney general's office, which could petition Superior Court for an indefinite order requiring the person to give up any guns or ammunition.

The legislation's passage in the Senate this month marked the first major gun control bill to meet final approval in Delaware's legislature. The law did not receive a single "no" vote in either the House or Senate.

However, Sen. Ernie Lopez (R-Lewes), who voted against the previous version of the Beau Biden bill in 2013 before voting for the new proposal this year, said he thinks there needs to be more compromise on other gun control measures proposed this session.

Other gun control measures being considered by lawmakers this year include bans on so-called "assault weapons," bump fire stocks, and extended magazines.

"We need to find where we can have unity and common agreement first and work out from that common center instead of starting from these extremes where people are arguing with each other all the time," he said.

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