Delaware Governor Signs Controversial ‘Permit to Purchase’ Gun Bill into Law

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DOVER, DE – In a move that has sparked considerable debate, Governor John Carney signed into law a new bill requiring individuals to obtain a permit and complete gun safety training before purchasing a handgun in Delaware. This law, known as the ‘permit to purchase’ bill, is seen by many as an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

The new legislation, which aims to reduce gun violence, mandates that prospective handgun buyers go through a rigorous application process, including fingerprinting and firearms training. Despite its proponents’ claims that it will help save lives, the law has faced immediate legal challenges from gun rights advocates who argue it imposes unnecessary burdens on lawful gun ownership.

Governor Carney defended the bill, stating, “It’s beyond my comprehension somebody could pick up a gun and shoot somebody with it, but it happens — oftentimes for no apparent reason. It’s sad, but if you can prevent them from picking up a gun in the first place then we’ve got a chance.”

However, critics of the law, including gun owners and organizations like the National Rifle Association, argue that it unfairly targets law-abiding citizens while doing little to deter criminals who, by definition, do not follow the law. The law’s opponents point out that such measures effectively strip citizens of their right to defend themselves and make it more cumbersome for them to legally acquire firearms.

One of the main criticisms is that the bill creates a de facto gun registry and adds bureaucratic hurdles that could discourage lawful gun ownership. Gun rights supporters argue that criminals will continue to obtain guns through illegal means, while responsible citizens are left defenseless, particularly in so-called gun-free zones where law-abiding individuals are prohibited from carrying firearms.

The new law also faces backlash for its implications on personal defense. As highlighted by recent events, such as a thwarted mass shooting in a gun-free zone, these areas are often targeted by criminals who know that their potential victims are unarmed and unable to defend themselves.

The National Rifle Association called the legislation “extreme” and criticized it for imposing a Maryland-style “handgun qualified purchase card” system that would create ongoing costs and delays for those seeking to exercise their right to purchase a handgun.

The law, which will take effect in 18 months, requires that applicants pay for the mandatory training and fingerprinting but does not charge a fee for the permit itself. The permit will be valid for two years, while the training certification will last for five years.

Legal experts anticipate that the law will face numerous challenges in the courts. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings expressed confidence in the law’s constitutionality, stating, “We haven’t lost one of them yet,” referring to past legal battles over gun control measures.

As this legislation moves forward, it raises important questions about the balance between public safety and constitutional rights. For many gun owners, the new requirements are seen as a step too far, imposing unnecessary restrictions on their ability to protect themselves and their families.

In a society where self-defense is a fundamental right, the passage of this bill sets a concerning precedent. While the intention behind the law is to reduce gun violence, it remains to be seen whether it will achieve its goals without infringing on the freedoms of responsible gun owners.

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