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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Governor Carney’s Statement on Final Passage of Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

DOVER, Del.Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long issued the following statements on final passage of the  Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act:

“This legislation – one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety reform – takes responsible steps to protect Delaware communities by keeping firearms away from those who pose a danger to themselves or others,” said Governor John Carney. “This is commonsense, bipartisan reform that will make our state safer, while protecting the due process rights of all Delawareans. This legislation also will ensure that Delaware’s health professionals and law enforcement are working more closely together when it comes to the issue of gun safety. Thank you to Representative Bentz, Senator Henry, and all members of the General Assembly from both parties for their leadership on this issue. I look forward to signing this important piece of legislation, and I would urge all legislators to take additional action on gun safety reform that will make our state safer.”

“Today Delaware moved a step closer toward protecting our communities and our schools from those who pose a danger to themselves and others,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “We must work together to remove guns from those who are too dangerous to possess them. Beau Biden realized that and took action. I was proud to work with Beau and supported this legislation when he introduced it in 2013. I thought it was necessary then, and I think it’s imperative now, that we do all we can to remove guns from these individuals and get them the mental health treatment they need.”

DETAILS OF THE LEGISLATION:

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act would add 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 are currently not prohibited from owning firearms under current law. The legislation also would require 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 legislation 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.

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Related news:
Governor Carney, Representative Bentz Announce Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act


Governor Carney’s Statement on House Passage of Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

Governor Carney’s Statement on House Passage of Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney issued the following statement on Tuesday’s vote in the Delaware House of Representatives to approve the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act.

“Thank you to members of the Delaware House of Representatives for their bipartisan vote to approve this important piece of legislation. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act would responsibly restrict access to firearms for those who are considered a danger to themselves or others – while protecting the due process rights of all Delawareans. The bill also takes steps to ensure that Delaware health professionals and law enforcement are working more closely together on the issue of gun safety. We remain committed to working with members of the General Assembly, in both parties, to directly confront the issue of gun violence in a comprehensive way. As I have said, we need a national approach to gun safety. But we cannot wait to do what’s right in Delaware. We must take steps that will make our state safer. This vote today represents important progress. Thank you to members of the House for their vote, and I look forward to the Delaware Senate considering this legislation.”

Learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reform.

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Related news:
Governor Carney, Representative Bentz Announce Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act


Governor Carney, Representative Bentz Announce Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act

Legislation would limit access to firearms for those considered a danger to themselves or others

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday joined Representative David Bentz, the Coalition Against Gun Violence and other members of the General Assembly in announcing the introduction of the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act.

The legislation – similar to a bill advanced in 2013 by then-Attorney General Beau Biden – would help limit access to firearms for those who present a danger to themselves or others. Representative Bentz is the prime sponsor of the legislation, which also takes steps to protect due process and ensure that the state does not create barriers to care for those suffering from mental illness.

“Today we brought together a wide-ranging coalition of advocates to introduce legislation aimed at confronting an issue our entire country faces – gun violence,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation will protect our communities by restricting access to firearms for those who are considered a danger to themselves or others. It will also ensure our health professionals and law enforcement are working more closely together when it comes to the issue of firearms. We’re honored to introduce this legislation under the name the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, carrying on Beau’s legacy and recognizing his commitment to protecting Delawareans during his time as Attorney General.”

“We have an obligation to prevent senseless gun violence whenever possible. When a person presents a danger to themselves or others, mental health professionals can help prevent some of these tragedies and save lives,” said Representative David Bentz. “The Beau Biden bill achieves a balance between promoting public safety and sensible gun control policy while protecting the due process and Second Amendment rights of Delawareans. This balance is why there was so much consensus among mental health professionals, Second Amendment advocates, and legislators of both parties, when it was originally proposed.”

“Beau was passionate about keeping firearms out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves or others. He worked hard to get this bill passed in 2013, thinking it was a smart, common-sense bill that would have protected the people of our state,” said Hallie O. Biden. “He was disappointed when it failed to garner a majority in the Senate, and my family and I are grateful that the Governor and members of the General Assembly brought this bill back. We’re eager to see it pass.”

“Though issues around gun safety are multi-faceted and complex, we need to have these challenging discussions. I am proud that in Delaware, we have had a history of taking charge on the issue of gun safety, and we are taking another stand today,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “This legislation is about making sure that firearms are not 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. It is a delicate and complex issue that requires a variety of different stakeholders to work together, and I am proud that we have been able to join forces on this issue.”

“Washington’s failure to act on America’s gun violence epidemic means that Delaware and other states need to lead,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “But we also have to make sure that taking action on gun safety doesn’t perpetuate the harmful myth that people with mental health issues are dangerous, or prevent people from seeking treatment. That’s why I’m so proud to join Rep. Bentz as a sponsor on gun safety legislation that relies on science, not talking points or stigma.”

DETAILS OF THE LEGISLATION:

The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act would add 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 are currently not prohibited from owning firearms under current law. The legislation announced Tuesday would require 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 an order from Superior Court to require individuals to relinquish firearms, if they are found to present a danger.

The Court may allow individuals to relinquish firearms to a personal designee. The legislation also allows affected individuals to appeal orders to the Supreme Court, and petition to have their firearms returned.

“I believed in this bill when Beau and I were advancing it in 2013, and if I could, I’d vote for it again,” said Michael Barbieri, chair of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Education Fund. “This bill is another common-sense piece of legislation that will make our communities safer and help prevent gun violence in our state. Our small state has led the country on gun violence legislation for the past five years, with laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and to close the Charleston loophole for background checks, and I’m proud to see that momentum continue with this bill.”

“While we know that the vast majority of people living with a serious and persistent mental illness are much more likely to be victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators, we also know there are warning signs that we must heed,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “When individuals with a mental illness are a danger to themselves or others, we must act to protect them and others.”


Statement from Secretary Bullock on Beau Biden

Beau Biden was a truly gifted public servant, and one of the very best I have ever worked with. As our attorney general, Beau always let the truth and the best interests of the people of Delaware guide his decisions, even when those decisions were not popular. Beau’s caring and compassion for the lives he touched were a bright beacon that cut through the cynicism that has become so common in American politics. His legacy as a leader of our state will be measured not just by all the important things he accomplished, but by the uniquely genuine way he accomplished them.

– Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock