Officials hold meeting on regulations for guns in Delaware state parks
Gun control debates are raging across the nation and here at home so it's no surprise that new regulations on firearms are drawing a lot of eyeballs. In Delaware, new regulations will allow people to carry guns in State Parks, and it's created a controversy that was addressed at a public forum.
Delaware residents listened attentively as they were told the new regulations that could soon take place regarding guns in state parks.
"It's an effort to reach out to the public and explain what these regulations are about, how we think they will work and how they came about," said Deputy Attorney General Ralph Durstein.
Last year on December 7th the Supreme Court issued a decision invalidating Delaware's firearm regulations in state parks sparking a lot of controversy.
"The court said they were too restrictive and they had to essentially be rewritten," said Durstein.
Under the proposed new rules firearms would still be prohibited in designated areas of state parks and forests unless the person is in law enforcement, a retired law enforcement officer, or has a valid concealed carry permit.
"The effort here with the workshops and the public hearing is to reach out to the public and say look we're only trying to implement what the court allowed us to do in a way that affords protection to people but also respects people's rights," said Durstein.
Some residents are in support of the new regulations.
"If there's an incident you need to be on site in two minutes and in order to catch the person on site you have to be there within five minutes. Which means the only physical way is if you have decent people carrying firearms," said Delaware Department of Corrections Sergeant William Kuschel.
While others feel differently.
"We had a couple who were very concerned they don't want to renew their state park annual permit because they are afraid of the idea that now anybody can be on trails or on guarded beaches or ponds and have basically an open carry of any firearm," said Durstein.
But despite opinions, officials say the new regulations must be implemented by either May or June, right as the parks begin to see more foot traffic.
The next hearing will be on March 12th in Dover where the floor will be open to the public to voice their questions and concerns. Officials say that once the laws are put in place they will revisit them after the summer season to see if they need to make adjustments.