- March 27, 2018 at 4:52 am #49841
Democrats in the Delaware General Assembly last week unveiled controversial legislation to ban the sale of assault-style weapons, after a similar measure in Maryland withstood a constitutional challenge from gun-rights advocates in 2017.
As Delaware Law Weekly reported earlier this month, the bill mirrors the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, which cleared the Maryland legislature in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Like the Maryland law, the Delaware bill identifies a range of “assault long guns” and other weapons that would no longer be approved for manufacture, sale and transport in the First State.
The synopsis of SB 163, introduced in the state Senate March 22, cites a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which declared that Maryland’s law, known as the FSA, did not violate the constitutional right to bear arms. In that case, a majority of the federal appeals court relied on U.S. Supreme Court precedent in District of Columbia v. Heller to rule that the Second Amendment did not apply to guns deemed to be “exceptionally lethal weapons of war. The Supreme Court in November denied an appeal by gun dealers and the Maryland branch of the National Rifle Association, who had challenged the FSA in the lower courts.
The Delaware legislation, introduced by Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, came at the urging of Gov. John Carney, who last month called for a ban on “assault-style” weapons, after a 19-year-old man used a legally purchased AR-15 to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “This is important legislation that will make our state safer—and I urge members of the General Assembly in both parties to act quickly and send this bill to my desk as soon as possible,” Carney said last week in a statement. The bill lists 45 types of long guns—including the AR-15 and AK-47—that would be outlawed, along with certain assault pistols and “copycat” weapons.
The measure would not include firearms that were legally purchased before the legislation goes into effect, though those guns would be subject to tighter restrictions after the bill’s effective date. “Military-style assault weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. They have limited or no practical use for hunting or home defense, yet they are the weapon of choice in mass shootings and pose additional risk to law enforcement,” Townsend, the bill’s chief sponsor in the Senate, said in a statement. “It’s irresponsible to make them available to the general public on-demand. We owe it to our students, our families, and our law enforcement to keep weapons of war where they belong: on the battlefield, not on store shelves.”
However, the bill is expected to face fierce pushback from Republicans in the chamber, where Democrats hold just a one-seat majority. To complicate issues, gun-control measures don’t always split evenly along party lines, and Democrats could see some defections from Kent County lawmakers, who represent constituencies that are more likely to oppose gun reform. Meanwhile, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action is already urging members to lobby their state representatives to vote against what it called a “radical gun ban” that would infringe the rights of Delaware citizens. “As drafted, this legislation would do nothing to stop crime and would only prevent law-abiding gun owners from being able to defend themselves using the most effective means available,” the organization said last week. “Criminals, by definition, do not follow the law and will not follow this one if passed.”
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judicial & Community Affairs Committee, where it could be heard as early as Wednesday. However, the panel is facing a condensed schedule after a pair of late-season snow storms forced the General Assembly to cancel its legislative business in recent weeks, and the bill may not receive an initial vote until late April.
- March 27, 2018 at 4:54 am #49842
Two days after hundreds of thousands of people rallied across the world for more gun control, the New Jersey Assembly passed six bills to further toughen the state’s strict gun laws.
The bills require background checks for private gun sales, ban the sale of armor piercing ammunition, reduce the capacity of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and codify regulations regarding handgun permits. The Assembly also passed a pair of bills that allow police to take firearms from people deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others.
Gov. Phil Murphy has pledged to sign the measures into law if they reach his desk. The bills must still clear the Senate before going to the Democratic governor.
“Gun violence is not about statistics or abstract arguments,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), a sponsor of some of the bills. “It is about countless lives that have needlessly been cut short because far too many public policy makers have failed to find the courage to eventually act. Today in New Jersey, that comes to an end.”
Most of the measures received bipartisan support in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. But Republican lawmakers took issue with a bill (A2758) that would codify the definition of a “justifiable need,” which is required to get a handgun carrying permit. That bill passed 48 to 26 with two abstentions, mostly along party lines.
Regulations had long required applicants to prove they faced “specific threats” to obtain a permit, but former Gov. Chris Christie’s administration lowered that threshold by requiring only “serious threats.” Murphy reversed his predecessor’s policy, but lawmakers want to prevent a future governor from watering down the regulation.
Republicans argued the bill would make it even more difficult for those in true danger to get a permit.
“This bill gives me grave concerns,” said Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen). “It is almost impossible for a crime victim in New Jersey, as we stand here today, to get a concealed carry permit… If I had a ‘serious threat,’ if my life was in danger, if my daughter’s life was in danger, I want to be able to protect myself. And we already have such a high burden.”
The vote on a bill (A2761) limiting ammunition capacity to 10 rounds mostly fell along party lines as well, 48 to 25 with three abstentions. The other measures were overwhelmingly approved.
The Assembly passed the bills amid a national call for more gun control. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in “March for Our Lives” rallies on Saturday in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Murphy, who marched in Newark, pledged to sign the gun control bills if they reach his desk.
“The energy of the tens of thousands of New Jerseyans this past weekend demanding action on gun safety continues today,” Murphy said in a statement. “I applaud the General Assembly for passing these commonsense gun measures to protect our communities and families. I look forward to the state Senate taking these bills up as quickly as possible and sending them to my desk for my signature. The people of New Jersey have demanded we act, and we must.”
Hundreds of gun-rights activists descended on Trenton hours before the vote and rallied to oppose the bills on the steps of the War Memorial. They derided New Jersey elected officials, the media, liberals from Hollywood, and others who they claimed were working to disarm law-abiding citizens.
Republican state lawmakers announced their own legislation that would address school shootings but wouldn’t add gun restrictions. Sen. Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblyman Hal Wirths (all R-Sussex) said they are sponsoring a bill that would require bulletproof doors for New Jersey school classrooms. Wirths said he would introduce a bill to let retired law enforcement officers assigned to protect schools carry guns on campus, noting some school districts require the officers to lock the weapons in their cars.
“What’s the real problem? The real problem is school security as well as the mental health issues,” Oroho said.
New Jersey already has the third-strictest gun laws in the nation, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control group.
- March 27, 2018 at 4:55 am #49843
SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Petitioners for an initiative that would restrict the sale of assault weapons in Oregon have submitted some of the signatures necessary to make the November ballot.
If the batch submitted Monday in Salem includes at least 1,000 valid signatures, the attorney general will begin the ballot title drafting process. Petitioners must ultimately submit 88,184 signatures by July 6.
The initiative opposed by conservatives will likely be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, and petitioners cannot gather signatures during an appeal.
Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon, tells the Statesman Journal she’s concerned a months-long legal review will leave too little time to collect signatures.
Okamoto says if they fail to make this year’s ballot, supporters of the ban will push for it during the next legislative session. If that fails, they will try for the 2020 ballot.
- March 27, 2018 at 4:56 am #49844
A pair of Congressional Democratic lawmakers are introducing legislation to require a background check for all firearm ammunition sales.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz(D-Fla.) said on Monday they had introduced the bill, known as the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018, arguing it would help close a “loophole” in the current law.
“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks. … Closing this ludicrous loophole is a common-sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence,” Blumenthal said.
Wasserman Schultz added that it is “common-sense legislation” that would close an “absurd loophole.”
“Studies show it can help keep ‘bad guys with guns’ from perpetrating another mass slaughter like the one we witnessed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in my Broward County community, or the thousands of other acts of gun violence that devastate communities across the country,” she said in a statement.
Under the legislation, federally licensed sellers would run the checks for ammunition sales through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, six states include a background check as part of their efforts to regulate firearms and ammunition, with two — California and New York — requiring a background check to purchase ammunition.
The legislation comes after thousands protested in Washington, and throughout the United States, on Saturday as part of March for Our Lives, which was organized in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting.
Congress recently passed new school safety measures and a bill to bolster the federal background check system as part of a mammoth government funding bill.
But stricter gun control or background check legislation faces an uphill battle with a GOP-controlled Congress and an influential gun lobby.
Senate Democrats are expected to press for a wider gun control debate once Congress returns to Washington next month, including tighter background checks and a debate over an assault weapons ban.
- March 27, 2018 at 10:50 am #49846HarterParticipant
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Out of words that aren’t vulger , sarcastic , mean , or apostlistic to the orchestra pit .
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