Delaware gun rights advocates stand ready as Dems prepare another bill to ban assault weapons

Delaware Gun Rights advocates march outside Legislative Hall in Dover, DE

Delaware gun rights advocates are preparing for yet another fight against a bill to ban so-called assault weapons, a measure that some Democratic lawmakers are already discussing.

A proposed ban on assault-style weapons, Senate Bill 163, failed to make it to the floor for a vote last June following months of debate over the constitutionality of the measure.  

Last year's proposal was sponsored by State Senator Bryan Townsend, who announced that he's currently discussing another proposed ban on assault weapons with his colleagues, according to the News Journal

Many considered last year's defeat to be in part due to the overwhelming lobbying efforts of Delaware Gun Rights advocates who showed up in droves at Legislative Hall the entire session. 

The group's steadfast lobbying efforts are continuing this session as 135 members showed up to Legislative on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 to speak with legislators and present a $12,750 check to the Delaware State Sportsmen's Association (DSSA).

Mitch Denham, president of Delaware Gun Rights, said his group will continue to raise funds to ensure they're able to obtain legal representation to challenge the constitutionality of such a bill in court if it passes.

The 2018 midterm election expanded Democratic control in both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly, a change from last year that could present a different outcome on the proposal this time around.  

"We know that we're at a disadvantage with the House and the Senate this year and we figured it early on we should probably put our money where our mouth is so to speak," explained Denham. "So we have some legal representation in the event that they do try to pass this because we knew that's what they were probably going to try to do."

Denham went on to cite Article I Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution that states: "a person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.

"Those things are important," Denham emphasized. "The constitution in Delaware is not a 200-year-old document, it's a 30-year-old document."

State lawmakers have yet to introduce any official ban on semi-automatic weaponry. 

Delaware 105.9 has requested an interview with State Sen. Bryan Townsend and is awaiting a response.

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