Gun Control in Delaware

I mentioned back in the 2008 election that Jack Markell was going to be a real problem for Delaware gun owners. The good news is that he did not get the worst of his proposed agenda, which was ending private transfers and sales in Delaware. The bad news is that he managed to get some of his agenda through, though it looks like the damage was fairly minimized.

The most questionable item was being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated, but the resulting bill is relatively benign. There is no implied consent, as probable cause is required to submit to testing for BAC, though if you refuse your refusal can be used in court. That may not be constitutional, though I’m not an expert on 5th Amendment law.

My main issue here is that the penalty is way out of line from the danger. Drunk driving is far more dangerous than possessing a firearm while intoxicated, and in Delaware it takes three offenses to get to a Class G felony. The licenses suspension is also a max of 30 months. For having a gun, you lose your CDWL for five years.

Note that I have problem with criminalizing possession of a firearm while intoxicated outside the home, or handling a firearm while intoxicated anywhere. But I do have a big problem with those penalties being harsher than driving while intoxicated, which is a far more dangerous activity.

2 thoughts on “Gun Control in Delaware”

  1. I don’t think it’s dangerous at all to have a handgun tucked in your waistband while having a few drinks, as long as it stays there. The BAC limit for DUI is far lower than what should be considered “intoxicated” for the purpose of illegally carrying a firearm. Two beers is all it takes to be considered intoxicated, which makes sense for operating a motor vehicle, but not for simply carrying a gun and minding your own business.

  2. I wrote a few letters when the original bill came down, since that one was far, far worse than the one that ultimately passed. Still, there was no evidence that DE was having problems with gun owners getting drunk and carrying in public.

    Should someone carry while drunk? Of course not, but it simply wasn’t a problem.

    My worry is that Markell’s success here will give him the green light to try and force more gun control down our throats. I have no doubt he’ll try and push for a private sales ban again.

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