Governor Carney Signs Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

New law will limit access to firearms for those considered a danger to themselves or others

NEWARK, Del. – On Monday, Governor John Carney signed the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act alongside Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Ashley Biden, Representative David Bentz, legislators, and gun safety advocates at the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

The Beau Biden Act, passed unanimously by the General Assembly, will help restrict access to firearms for those who mental health professionals believe present a danger to themselves or others. The Act, which takes effect six months after its signing, mirrors legislation championed by former Attorney General Beau Biden in 2013.

“I am honored to sign this legislation, and to help carry on Beau’s legacy and his commitment to protecting Delawareans,” said Governor Carney. “The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act is important, common sense legislation – and one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety reform that will help make our state safer. This law will ensure that law enforcement and health professionals are working more closely together to confront the issue of gun violence and mental health. And it will help keep firearms away from those who may pose a danger to themselves or others, while protecting due process rights, and ensuring continued access to important mental health services.”

“My son Beau always believed that there was room for common sense gun safety legislation. It is something he supported and worked for his whole professional career, including championing a nearly identical bill as Attorney General,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “While that bill came up short of passage before we lost Beau, he was always confident that we would move in the right direction. This bill will make the state of Delaware safer while safeguarding every Delawarean’s rights to due process. It is a fitting tribute to Beau’s legacy.”

“Delaware has taken a substantial step forward in addressing mental health and gun safety with this thoughtful, consensus-driven piece of legislation. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act balances due process and public safety in the ultimate effort to prevent senseless gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those who present a danger to themselves or others,” said Representative David Bentz. “It was an honor to stand with Vice President Joe Biden as Governor Carney signed legislation addressing an issue that meant so much to the Vice President’s son. I hope this legislation serves as a model for other states as they work through gun safety policies.”

“Delaware has a responsibility to take action on the gun violence epidemic. Today, we’re upholding that responsibility,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “As policymakers, we have to have a good faith conversation about mental health and gun safety, but we also need to make sure that we protect due process and that we don’t perpetuate the harmful, stigmatizing myth that people with mental illness are dangerous. Two unanimous votes show that Representative Bentz struck that balance. His work on gun safety will save lives, and he deserves real praise for that.”

“The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence is grateful to those legislators on both sides of the aisle who were willing to work together to craft this important piece of legislation. This was a bipartisan effort that will protect people in our state who might pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Dennis Greenhouse, Chairman of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. “The fight against gun violence is not a partisan issue, and it does not stop here. As we continue into the final months of this session, we are optimistic that legislators will approach other common-sense gun violence bills before them with a similar commitment to action and willingness to work together to get things done.”


DETAILS OF THE BEAU BIDEN GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACT:

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act adds the following individuals to the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm:

  • Any person who has been committed to a hospital for treatment of a mental condition.
  • Perpetrators of violent crimes who have been found:
    • Not guilty by reason of insanity;
    • Guilty but mentally ill;
    • Mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Those individuals have not been prohibited from owning firearms under Delaware law. The new law also requires health professionals to report to law enforcement anyone they believe presents a danger to themselves or others. Appropriate law enforcement agencies must then investigate – and may seek a court order to require individuals to relinquish firearms, if they are found to present a danger. The law, which takes effect six months after its signing, also allows affected individuals to appeal orders to the Supreme Court, and petition to have their firearms returned.

Click here to learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reform.

Click here to watch the bill signing.

Click here for photos from the bill signing.

 

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DNREC to host Wetlands Celebration and Get in Gear Family Bike Rally May 5 at Trap Pond

DOVER – DNREC is celebrating May as American Wetlands Month with a variety of activities to honor wetlands as an important natural resource that plays key roles in protecting Delawareans from storms and flooding and providing habitat for wildlife. DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program will highlight wetlands by hosting a family event, releasing a new wetland video, and posting wetlands trivia and stories online.

To kick off the month, the 2nd Annual Wetlands Celebration will be held in conjunction with the 15th Annual Get in Gear Family Bike Rally from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5 at Trap Pond State Park in Laurel. These two events have joined together to provide fun and engaging entertainment for the whole family that brings awareness to Delmarva’s wetlands and the critters that inhabit them, as well as offering a unique mix of outdoor recreation, science, art, and history.

The Wetlands Celebration features interactive activities, exhibitors, demos, live music, and games. Families will find plenty to do, including self-guided wetland walks, enter to win a rain barrel, scavenger hunt, and free pontoon boat tours of Trap Pond. Boat tours will be offered every hour, with the last one pulling out at 2 p.m., and provide a brief history of the pond and some of the plants and animals that call Trap Pond home. Rental fees for the park’s canoes and kayaks are covered by the event admission.

Exhibitors include Delaware Museum of Natural History, DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, Rehoboth Art League, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Tri-State Bird Rescue, and Trap Pond State Park. Snacks will be available for purchase from food trucks.

Run by Trap Pond Partners, the Get in Gear Family Bike Rally starts at 10:30 a.m. and will traverse the perimeter of Trap Pond. Registration for the Bike Rally is $10 per person or $25 per family, and it is requested that you bring your own bike. All funds go to support Trap Pond State Park. To register or to get more information about the event, please visit the Wetlands Celebration website.

Park admission will be covered by the Bike Rally entry fee, or by mentioning the Wetlands Celebration at the fee booth; the first 150 cars that go through the booth also will receive free park admission. This outdoor event is rain or shine, but some of the day’s activities are weather-permitting.

Other Delaware American Wetlands Month activities include:

  • Wetland Warrior Award Nominations: Nominations for the 2018 Delaware Wetland Warrior Award will accepted through June 22. Now in its 11th year, the award recognizes students, teachers, classrooms, citizens, or organizations that have demonstrated exemplary efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands. The awards will be presented on Governor’s Day at the Delaware State Fair in July. Find more information about submitting a nominee at de.gov/wetlandwarriors.
  • Social Media Campaign: Each week during the month of May the Delaware Wetlands social media accounts will be posting trivia questions, highlighting unique wetlands around the state and focusing on how wetlands naturally provide important services to us every day.

DNREC’s American Wetlands Month activities are organized by the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program. For more information, about wetlands and the program please visit de.gov/delawarewetlands.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 98


DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife seeking great shots of Delaware anglers for annual photo contest

Digital entries accepted through Oct. 31

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today the start of their annual Delaware Fishing Photo Contest. The winning photograph will be featured on the cover of the 2019 Delaware Fishing Guide, with the top five photographs presented inside the guide.

The contest is open to all Delaware residents, with a maximum of three entries per person. Photographs should be submitted digitally at the Fish & Wildlife photo contest page, http://de.gov/fwphotos. Entries are being accepted now through Wednesday, Oct. 31.

A judging panel comprised of DNREC staff will be looking for technically-suitable, well composed photos that best portray this year’s contest theme, “‘Reel’ Good Time.” To be eligible, photographs must have been taken in Delaware and depict persons involved in lawful fishing activities.

Complete contest rules and information, entry forms and instructions for uploading entries can be found at the Fish & Wildlife photo contest webpage. For more information, please contact Jennifer Childears at 302-739-9910, or email jennifer.childears@delaware.gov.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 99


Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: April 16-22

Reminder for the week: Retaining striped bass spawning season unlawful in Delaware

DOVER – To achieve public compliance with laws and regulations through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 16-22 made 3,687 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, issuing 28 citations. Officers responded to 33 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

  • On April 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers during the NOBLE law enforcement job fair at Delaware State University near Dover.
  • On April 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers during a job fair at the Delaware Technical Community College Terry Campus near Dover.
  • On April 20, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers, discussed hunting, fishing and boating in Delaware, and displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer during an Earth Day Expo at the Joint Force Headquarters, MAJ Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center near New Castle.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

  • Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers were contacted by the Georgetown Police Department to help search for items associated with an ongoing robbery investigation. K9 Rosco was able to locate several items.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Take/destroy nests and eggs of wild birds (1).

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (8)*, possession of blue river herring (2), possession of undersized white perch (1)*, possession of undersized striped bass (2), use of illegal non-circle hook during striped bass spawning season (3)*.

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1).

Public Safety: Unreasonable speed (1).

Other: Possession of marijuana – civil (5) and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (4).

*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish, wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at http://de.gov/ogt.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind anglers that during Delaware’s striped bass spawning season, which began April 1 and continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or the C&D Canal or its tributaries. Anglers are required to practice catch and release fishing during this season with no harvest allowed in these areas.

In addition, regulations require anglers fishing with natural bait on any striped bass spawning ground during the closed spawning season to use a non-offset circle hook. The Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook-and-release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2018 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DEFWNRPolice/.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Africa, 302-382-7167, or Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913


DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation highlights installation of solar panels that now power Fort Delaware State Park

U.S. Senators Tom Carper (kneeling, right) and Chris Coons (kneeling, center), and Delaware River & Bay Authority Executive Director Tom Cook (far right) joined DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin (kneeling, left) and students from the Gunning Bedford Middle School at a ceremony today at Fort Delaware State Park in Delaware City showcasing new solar panels that now power Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.

DELAWARE CITY – DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation today marked the installation of 540 solar panels to power Fort Delaware State Park. U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, PSEG representatives, Delaware City Mayor Stanley Green, other state officials, and schoolchildren joined DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin for the dedication ceremony, which featured a tour of the Civil War-era fort and its new solar energy source. The ceremony also marked the opening of Fort Delaware for the season.

A diesel generator, which formerly powered the facility, was damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. As part of the disaster recovery funding, $94,000 was provided by the Federal and Delaware Emergency Management agencies for the design, engineering, and infrastructure construction needed to install the solar panels, along with $180,000 from DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate. The panels were installed in 2017, and generate 37.5 kilowatts or 170 amps per year, enough to power the entire facility every day, rather than just when the fort is open to the public.

“Installing the solar panels at Fort Delaware is an excellent outcome from a horrible storm,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Rather than just fixing the old diesel generator, now the state park can be powered cheaply, efficiently, and in a cleaner way. That’s a win-win for our environment and the state’s bottom line.”

“Enhancing the visitor experience, reducing the operating cost of this site, and improving the air quality are three ways this project is great for Delaware,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “I am grateful to PSEG’s generosity and the spirit of collaboration that helped drive this project with DNREC. Fort Delaware has an incredible history that more people should know about, and I hope this project helps attract more visitors and increase the park’s capabilities to facilitate those visitors.”

“This solar power installation at Fort Delaware not only helps protect our environment, but also our historic legacy,” said Governor John Carney. “In addition, the improvements will help boost our $3.3 billion tourism economy, as Fort Delaware attracts more than 15,000 visitors every year.”
Prior to the installation of the solar array, for the fort to operate during the season, the generator required drums of diesel fuel to be brought over by boat throughout the season. This was not only inefficient, but there were also safety and environmental concerns. The new solar array provides $18,000 – $20,000 of clean, efficient energy per year, or the equivalent of 180 barrels of diesel fuel. In addition, the new solar array provides power for the entire year, enabling heat, lights, security cameras and dehumidifiers to run in the winter months when parks staff is not available to run the generator.
DNREC partnered with PSEG Power, a New Jersey-based energy company, which donated 700 total solar panels for the project. The panels are located on the roof of the fort, 50 feet above the floodplain and are not visible from the ground or from within the areas of the fort open to the public.

“The new solar panels at Fort Delaware provide energy savings and a cleaner environment,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We have seen time and time again that energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to lower energy use and operations costs, making Fort Delaware’s power needs more affordable and efficient to operate, and environmentally friendly. The solar array provides constant and reliable energy for year-round operation at the fort. The use of solar energy is among the best ways to protect and preserve the environment now, and for the future.”

“The Fort Delaware project helps point the way forward toward a sustainable future for all,” said Ralph LaRossa, president of PSEG Power. “We are no stranger to Delaware, having developed the PSEG Milford Solar Farm in Kent County, which remains the state’s largest solar installation. We are proud to partner with DNREC to replace diesel generators with solar panels and move Delaware toward a clean energy future, demonstrating that we can have both a strong economy and a healthy environment.”

Fort Delaware was built as a Union military post that held approximately 32,000 prisoners over the course of the Civil War. Today, award-winning living-history interpreters put a human face on history. A ferryboat takes visitors out to the fort on Pea Patch Island, which is also known for its wealth of birdlife. For more information, visit www.destateparks.com/park/fort-delaware/ or call 302-834-7941.

Vol. 48, No. 94

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902