Feeling a national backlash against Second Amendment rights, proud gun owners made their voices heard at a recent Community Conversation on Gun Violence in Delaware.
In a forum held at Middletown High School that included a pair of Democrats and a pair of Republicans, gun-rights advocates let the politicians know they recognized many of these so-called gun talks are vehicles to find ways to restrict gun ownership and violate constitutional rights.
Approximately 700 strong, the crowd booed, jeered and effectively took control of a debate many felt the outcome was meant to be pre-determined. The raucous pro-gun crowd shot remarks such as “prosecute the criminals,” “stop running for office,” and in the anti-bedroom community spirit, “go back to New Jersey.”
As expected, the discussion covered important issues such as school safety and big city violence, but ultimately focused on anti-gun rights legislation making its way through the Delaware General assembly. The common first step toward taking away firearms from law-abiding citizens is, of course, banning “assault weapons.” Like other states, Delaware politics operates under the misconception that weapons such as the AR-15 are military-grade and have a semi-automatic firing ability that exceeds many legal handguns and other rifles. They do not.
The legislation at issue was introduced by Delaware State Sen. Bryan Townsend, a Democrat from the border town of Newark. It proposes an all-out ban on “assault weapons” that has infuriated local gun-advocates. The state senator, like many Democrats, appears to be blurring the line between lawful, responsible gun ownership and criminal intent.
“A ban minimizes the chance that they will fall into someone’s hands,” Townsend reportedly said. “Our laws should not make it so easy for people to acquire firearms . . . and it’s meant to make it as hard as possible for someone who wants to use (them) for evil purposes.”
The anti-gun politician gained support from another Democrat during the debate.
Former Delaware prosecutor Kathy Jennings, currently running for Attorney General as a Democrat, advocated for a ban similar to the federal policy that ran from 1994 to 2004.
“We see mass shootings go down when there is a ban and go up when there is no longer a ban,” Jennings reportedly said. “That tells me there is an effective aspect to this bill and it ought to be considered seriously.”
The remarks appear to have enraged local gun owners and the left-leaning politicians were repeatedly denounced for taking aim at restricting citizens’ rights. However, Republican participants remained firmly opposed to targeting lawful gun ownership.
Delaware State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn promptly argued that the overwhelming majority of state firearm crimes are done with handguns. The Georgetown Republican succinctly pointed out that rifles are generally used for hunting. The Georgetown area is the home of Redden State Forest and many rich hunting grounds. Pettyjohn compared the proposed ban to a school teacher punishing an entire class for one student misbehaving.
“We’re taking away the liberty of an individual to purchase one of the items because someone else did something bad with them,” he reportedly said.
Although many states have effectively rolled back lawful gun ownership, the Delaware state constitution has a specific provision designed to protect gun rights. It will be necessary, going forward, for pro-gun rights citizens to make their voices heard in order to keep the right to bear arms.
~ Firearm Daily