Delaware Considers Bill Banning Gun Ownership for People with “Mental Illnesses”

The state of Delaware is working on a bill that would ostensibly ban people who have mental illnesses from getting access to owning and possessing firearms.

Just how broad the bill will go in defining what constitutes “mental illness” and who might be subject to being deemed in the category that would warrant having their gun rights stripped from them is not being made clear, so far.

Delaware wants to ban guns for those suffering from mental illnesses

Gov. John Carney, D-Delaware, and state legislators introduced a bill that aims to prevent guns from getting into the hands of those with mental illnesses. The law, if passed, will be named in honor of the late state Attorney General Beau Biden who had pushed such a bill when he was in office.

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act is similar to legislation advanced by Biden in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook shooting. The legislation had bipartisan support in the state House, with only one voting against it, but it failed to pass in the state Senate 13-6.

The current bills like the one introduced 5 years ago aims to keep guns out of the hands of individuals suffering from mental illness.

“We hear names that take us back to each tragedy–Columbine, 12 students and one teacher, Sandy Hook, 20 children, Charleston, nine people, Las Vegas 58 people, the horrific event in Sutherland Springs (Texas) since Las Vegas, and all mass shootings in between. It seems tragically never ending and begs the question, ‘When will it ever stop?’” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, a co-sponsor of the bill.

“Laws that address mental illness and gun safety need to be sensitive, so they don’t create barriers to care to those who are suffering. There is still much stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health treatment despite the progress we’ve made. In order to erase the stigma we have to improve the access and continue to give hope to those in need, so their illness can be seen in the same way as diabetes and cancer. This legislation is about making sure firearms aren’t in the hands of dangerous people and gives mental health professionals more tools if they believe a patient is a danger to themselves or others.”

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