Del. Senators weigh in on safe gun storage bill as measure heads to senate committee
DOVER, Del. – After a 22-19 vote in the house , House Bill 63 heads to the senate executive committee for a vote. But Delaware senators are already chiming in on the progress the piece of legislation has made so far.
“I’m looking forward to the committee hearing and getting more information but I do have concerns about this bill going forward,” said Senator Ernie Lopez (R) Senate District 6.
Legislators tell us if the proposed legislation passes, a gun owner could face misdemeanor charge if they intentionally or recklessly leave a loaded gun in easy reach for a child or any person prohibited from having a firearm, to obtain. Even if the gun was stolen.
“Putting the burden of proof on the victim of a theft that they had something secured is a road that we’ve never really gone down before,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn (R) Senate District 19.
If the bill becomes law residents in Delaware would need to make sure that their gun or guns are properly stored and safe. Which means the trigger lock on the gun should be engaged, and it should be kept in a secure place like a safe to keep the firearm from getting into the wrong hands.
“Delaware’s bill of rights, guarantees a person the right to keep and bear arms for the defensive self and family in their home, so there’s a lot of different concerns with this bill,” Pettyjohn said.
Representative Sean Lynn who introduced the bill says the legislation is simply “Aimed at the person who does not take proper precautions with their firearm and is designed to address situations where loaded firearms are readily available for a child or prohibited person to access the weapon.” But senators we spoke with say they aren’t sure if that issue relates to Delaware.
“Is this something that’s really a problem in Delaware? I don’t see any indication that it is, “said Lopez.
With no set date on when the senate committee will vote on this piece of legislation means it’s nothing more than a waiting game at this point to see if the proposal will become permanent.
State lawmakers add that a nearly identical measure cleared the House last session, but it died without action in the Senate. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judicial Committee. And if they decide to vote in favor of this piece of legislation, it well head to the senate floor for a final vote.