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As Gun Violence in Delaware Reaches New Levels, State Lawmakers Have the Chance to Tackle Gun Violence During the 2022 Legislative Session


As Delaware’s 2022 legislative session reconvenes this week, lawmakers in the Delaware legislature have the opportunity to pass important legislation to combat the unprecedented increases in gun violence rates across the state. According to the CDC, the state of Delaware experienced the highest year-to-year spike in gun violence from 2019 to 2020, with a 45 percent increase in the age-adjusted rate of gun deaths.

In the midst of this ever-growing crisis, the most crucial gun safety legislation up for consideration in Delaware in 2022 is SB 3, a bill that would create a handgun qualified purchaser card in Delaware that would require a purchaser to present a valid permit, before any handgun purchase. The legislation was left on the floor of the House of Representatives at the end of the 2021 legislative session.

What to know about permit-to-purchase legislation:

  • Requiring individuals to apply for and receive a card prior to a handgun purchase gives law enforcement an opportunity to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves or public safety, helping save lives and reduce the rampant rate of gun violence, including gun suicides, that continue to devastate the state. 
  • Neighboring states, including Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia, already require a purchase permit for handgun purchases.
  • In Connecticut, enacting a permit-to-purchase law helped reduce the rate of gun homicide in the state by 40 percent. Whereas, in Missouri, when the state’s permit-to-purchase law was repealed by the state legislature, the gun homicide rate increased by 27 percent.

In 2021, the Delaware legislature passed a number of important common sense gun safety measures that were later signed into law by Governor John Carney, including HB 124, which protects survivors and victims of domestic abuse by prohibiting abusers from possessing firearms upon being subject to an emergency domestic violence restraining order, and HB 125, which disallows anyone who is not a federally licensed firearms dealer from selling, transferring, or possessing an untraceable or unserialized firearm or firearm receiver and thwarts efforts to create and distribute 3D printed firearms.

Here’s what you need to know about gun violence in Delaware

  • In an average year in Delaware, 107 people die by guns, and 279 people are wounded.
  • 51% of all gun deaths in Delaware are suicides.
  • Gun violence costs Delaware $713.7 million each year, of which $36.3 million is paid by taxpayers.

If you have any questions, or would like to request an interview with a volunteer from Delaware Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.