Gun Control

In this Jan. 11, 2018 photo, a semi-automatic rifle at right that has been fitted with a so-called bump stock device to make it fire faster sits on a table at the Washington State Patrol crime laboratory in Seattle. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has called for a ban on bump stocks and a Washington state Legislature Senate committee held a public hearing Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 on several bills related to guns, including measures to prohibit high-capacity magazines and to ban bump stocks. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The state House moved Delaware a step closer Thursday evening to barring further sale of a number of semiautomatic assault weapons, all while a shooting that claimed three lives was occurring next door in neighboring Maryland. 

Rep. Valerie Longhurst, House Majority Leader and primary sponsor for House Bill 450, rattled off a list of mass shooting locations during the debate over the legislation, saying she didn't want to see Delaware added to the list.

"The intention of this legislation is simple and clear: To make sure that the next Uvalde, the next Buffalo, the next Sandy Hook does not take place in the state of Delaware," she said. "It's is to make sure that in Delaware, it is against the law to obtain the kind of weapon that can inflict this level of carnage and devastation; highly lethal weapons with their origins in the field of military combat, which have ended up in our schools and our shopping malls."

While that conversation was happening, CBS News reported three people were killed and one was left critical in a shooting at a Smithburg, Maryland, concrete products equipment manufacturer. 

During a pursuit of the suspect, a Maryland State Trooper was injured, as was the suspect. The shooting suspect's exact condition was unknown, according to Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday evening. The trooper was reportedly shot in the shoulder. 

U.S. Rep. David Trone tweeted he was "actively monitoring the mass shooting," and asked individuals to stay away from the area. In Delaware, Republican Rep. Bryan Shupe repeatedly argued the bill was reactionary, and said he knew it would not aid Delaware.

"We don't consistently fund, we don't consistently create policy--or even measure--gun violence in the state of Delaware," he said. "This brings me to the point that this is not a bill that is part of a serious plan to reduce gun violence, but a reactionary policy to limit constitutional rights of the citizens of Delaware. This bill will not prove to create any better outcomes for Delaware residents, will not make our schools or neighborhoods safer."

Longhurst ultimately argued it was not reactionary, though noted bills have been introduced to lessen the chance things that have occurred elsewhere--like the Las Vegas shooting, which was reliant on bump stocks--would not happen here. 

At the beginning of June, in the wake of the slaughter of 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, and an impassioned plea from Pres. Joe Biden for the nation's lawmakers to do something, Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Democratic Caucuses in both chambers announced a joint plan guaranteeing to introduce and quickly pass a package of gun-control-focused bills. 

While the House sends the Senate HB450 on the back of a 22-19 vote, and should soon be sending companion bill HB451--which raises the legal purchasing age from 18 to 21--after it was also released from committee Wednesday, the Senate has et the House SB6 for consideration, which bans large-capacity magazine sales. 

While Longhurst has clarified HB450 is a "discontinuation" of the sale of certain kinds of guns, and would not be a bill where the guns listed in the legislation would be actively collected by officials, SB6 is a bill that would make it a crime to own magazines capable of holding more than 17 rounds, and creates a buyback program for them. Some exemptions for military or police officers, active or retired, and concealed carry permit holders would apply.