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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MEDIA ADVISORY: Governor Carney To Sign HB 174

Bill will strengthen penalties for illegal purchases of firearms

DOVER, Del. – On Wednesday, April 18, Governor Carney will sign House Bill 174, which strengthens penalties for illegal purchases of firearms, deterring “straw purchases” by making jail time more likely for the offender. This bill raises the first offense of purchasing or obtaining a firearm for someone not legally qualified to own, possess or purchase one from a Class F to a Class E Felony. Governor Carney will be available for media following the bill signing.

Signing of House Bill 174

WHAT: Governor Carney to sign HB 174, strengthening penalties for illegal purchases of firearms

WHO: Governor John Carney
Secretary Robert Coupe, Department of Safety & Homeland Security
Representative Larry Mitchell
Senator Harris McDowell
Senator Anthony Delcollo
Senator Brian Pettyjohn
Representative Ruth Briggs King
Representative Deb Heffernan
Representative Deborah Hudson
Representative Dave Wilson
Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Jr., Superintendent DSP
Sgt. Darren Lester, DSP
Chief William Bryson, Chairman, Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Jeffrey Horvath, Executive Director, Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Laura Giles (Elsmere), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief John Horsman (Capitol), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Chief Marvin Mailey (Dover), Delaware Police Chiefs Council
Lt. Fred Calhoun, State FOP President
Representatives from Everytown for Gun Safety
Representatives from the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence

WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
12:45 p.m.

WHERE: Governor’s Office
Legislative Hall
411 Legislative Avenue
Dover, DE 19901

This event will be livestreamed at: https://livestream.com/StateofDelaware/hb174


Governor Carney Signs Anti-Blight Legislation

Bills will give local governments new tools to address vacant homes, strengthen neighborhoods

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Bills 187 and 188, bipartisan legislation that give new tools to local governments to fight neighborhood blight and combat vacant or abandoned homes.

Governor Carney signs House Bills 187 and 188.
Governor Carney signs House Bills 187 and 188.

Representatives J.J. Johnson, Stephanie T. Bolden, Joseph Miro, Daniel Short, John Mitchell and Kim Williams, and Senators Bryan Townsend, Margaret Rose Henry and Stephanie Hansen sponsored the two bills, which passed the General Assembly unanimously in June.

Governor Carney signed the legislation at a vacant home purchased by New Castle County with state funds as part of an anti-blight initiative in the Garfield Park community near New Castle.

House Bill 187 will allow local governments to prequalify bidders at sheriff’s sales to restrict bidders who are delinquent on property taxes or violating property maintenance codes. House Bill 188 will allow local governments to place a lien on a vacant property in violation of maintenance standards to recoup enforcement and abatement costs.

“Vacant and abandoned properties can bring down property values, attract crime and make neighborhoods unattractive places to live, work and play,” said Governor Carney. “Strengthening our communities requires creative solutions to the problems we face, and new tools such as these will help local leaders effectively combat blight by directly addressing vacant homes. Delaware has invested $8.25 million in Strong Neighborhoods funding to redevelop housing in communities such as Garfield Park, which is leading to $35 million in other investment, and we must continue to work supporting residents who want to create safe streets and livable communities.”

Vacant and abandoned homes become breeding grounds for crime and dumping grounds for trash, are targets for arson and become a health and safety hazard for their surrounding communities. These properties also drive costs to county taxpayers, diverting public safety resources, and force local government to pay for basic maintenance, grass mowing, and waste removal. Additionally, vacant and abandoned housing has been shown to depress neighborhood property values and reduce tax revenues that fund critical public services.

“We want our neighbors to have pride in their communities, but housing vacancies overwhelm too many regions of our state and cause a host of problems in its tracks. House Bills 187 and 188 provide a beacon of light in those situations. With these bills, local governments are empowered to take charge of blight in these communities by ultimately working to return vacant properties to use and helping Delawareans restore that pride,” said Representative James Johnson, D-New Castle, prime sponsor of the bills. “Our residents – and their homes- deserve that attention. By eliminating blight we will be able to foster a new sense of community and responsibility.”

“This legislation is all about holding real estate investors accountable and promoting vibrancy in our communities,” said Senator Bryan Townsend, D-Newark. “Neglected properties and blight are having a real impact on crime rates, property values, and quality of life for Delawareans. Investors and people who want to be able take ownership of homes must also take ownership of maintaining them, not just rely on the community and taxpayers to foot the bill for blight.  Coupled with investments in open-space for established neighborhoods, the tools in this legislation can be of great help to promoting the safety and prosperity we should want all Delawareans to enjoy.”

“By turning vacant places across our county and state into livable spaces we will reduce crime, lift property values, and turn liabilities into opportunities for hardworking new homeowners,” said New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer. “City, county and state collaborated to create stronger policies, and we thank Governor Carney and the leadership of the General Assembly who saw the value in the legislation being enacted today.”

“As a former president of New Castle County Council, I know all too well the cost of blight for local governments,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown. “The downward spiral that blight creates for entire communities is stunning. It’s not just the risk of crime or fire—studies show that vacant and abandoned homes can affect surrounding residents’ physical and mental health. These bills offer invaluable tools that protect our communities from speculators who try to game the system at our expense, and leave taxpayers and responsible property owners holding the bill. I’m glad to have supported it, and hope to continue working with state and local officials to protect and revitalize our neighborhoods.”

“These new tools build upon the work of the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund in purchasing, renovating and selling formerly vacant, abandoned or blighted properties, turning 181 empty homes or vacant lots into owner-occupied homes that brighten a street,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “These partnerships with local governments and nonprofit partners help improve the quality of life for our residents and make Delaware a better place to live.”

“I have seen the negative effects that vacant, abandoned and blighted properties have on vibrant neighborhoods such as ours,” said Lee Jarmon, president of the Overview Gardens Garfield Park Civic Association. “I commend the state, county and other local leaders for working together to pass legislation to address and help to remedy this serious issue.”

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation Extending Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans

Legislation, sponsored by Representative Baumbach, requires additional notifications, free credit monitoring

NEWARK, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Substitute 1 for House Bill 180, legislation that requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

Representative Paul Baumbach sponsored the legislation, which passed the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support. The new law requires businesses to safeguard information, and requires businesses to provide free credit monitoring services for customers whose sensitive personal information is compromised in a cybersecurity breach. With Governor Carney’s signature on Thursday, Delaware became just the second state to require businesses to provide those services, after Connecticut.

Governor Carney Signs Legislation Extending Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans
House Substitute 1 for House Bill 180, sponsored by Representative Baumbach, requires additional protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a computer breach, including additional notifications and free credit monitoring services.

 

“We live in a digital world where threats to personal information are becoming more common, and the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic challenges we face,” said Governor John Carney. “It makes sense to offer additional protections for Delawareans who may have their information compromised in a cybersecurity breach. At the same time, we will continue to connect businesses to training and resources that will help them safeguard and protect their data. I was also proud to sign this legislation on Thursday alongside Dr. Assanis at the University of Delaware, an institution that is helping lead innovation around cybersecurity. Thank you to Representative Baumbach for leading on this issue, and to all members of the General Assembly who voted to approve these new consumer protections.”

“We have worked with many stakeholders to perfect this cybersecurity legislation so that Delawareans will have proper consumer notifications and protections in place when there is a security breach of personal information. In our technological-driven world these data breaches have become too common and impact a wide variety of individuals. We had to find a way to address those concerns,” said Representative Baumbach, D-Newark. “This is a meaningful step forward in addressing these breaches so that we guarantee better protections for our residents and help them rebuild their lives after a cyber-attack. In particular, the bill focuses on notification requirements and additional help with identity theft mitigation services in cases where Social Security numbers are breached.”

House Bill 180 provides the first updates in Delaware law in more than a decade to address advances in cyber threats. The new law will require all companies doing business in Delaware to implement and maintain reasonable security to protect personal information. Delaware is one of 14 states to impose explicit data security obligations on the private sector.

Thursday’s signing ceremony was held at the University of Delaware, which offers a master’s program in cybersecurity to help drive innovation. UD’s Small Business Development Center also trains small businesses to identify cybersecurity threats and protect their business and customer data.

“The University of Delaware is committed to working with the state and our other partners to address the large and growing challenges of cybersecurity,” said Dr. Dennis Assanis, President of the University of Delaware. “UD is devoting unique resources to developing and advancing technologies and solutions for a safe and resilient cyberspace by contributing our expertise in computer science, corporate governance and public policy.”

“The Delaware Small Business Development Center is proud to be part of the Governor’s signing of House Bill 180,” said Daniel Eliot, the Manager of Technology Business Development at UD’s Small Business Development Center. “For the last two years, we have worked closely with the state and other stakeholders, focused on providing training and resources to help Delaware’s small businesses make a reasonable effort to secure their businesses. It’s a matter of fact: all businesses today are technology-based businesses and are vulnerable to cyber breach. We want to be sure Delaware’s businesses are technologically and behaviorally prepared to combat such attacks.”

“The increase in cyberattacks and data breaches creates an imperative for Delaware to protect citizen information commonly used by criminals to perpetrate identity theft and fraud,” said James Collins, Chief Information Officer at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. “We all know that prevention is the best strategy and that is our main goal. We want to be proactive so that our citizens and business community can avoid these threats.”

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Governor Carney Signs Legislation Improving Training for Educators to Prevent Child Abuse

Senate Bill 102, supported by Beau Biden Foundation, develops training program for educators, school staff

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed into law Senate Bill 102, legislation supported by the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children that develops a coordinated training program for educators to detect and prevent child abuse.  The bill consolidates Delaware law to improve child sexual abuse training and detection, suicide prevention,Governor Carney Signs Legislation Improving Training for Educators to Prevent Child Abuse anti-bullying programs, criminal youth gang detection, and teen dating violence and sexual assault prevention.

Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry sponsored the bill, which passed the General Assembly with unanimous, bipartisan support. It applies to all public schools, including charter schools, and vocational school districts.

“Beau Biden had a deep and unyielding commitment to protecting children from abuse, and I am honored to continue supporting his mission by signing this legislation into law,” said Governor Carney. “I cannot think of any job more important than protecting children. Educators who work every day with Delaware students are in a unique position to help detect warning signs, and act to prevent abuse. This law will help them do that by developing a program to coordinate training, and allowing schools the flexibility to tailor training to the needs of their students. Thank you to Senator Henry, and everyone who made this law a reality, including everyone at the Beau Biden Foundation.”

“Our schools are places of learning, but they also provide vital services to our kids,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East. “It’s on all of us to recognize and intervene in bullying, youth violence, child abuse, and teen depression, but it’s clear that our schools are a critical part of that fight. Senate Bill 102 builds on the great work of groups like the Beau Biden Foundation by ensuring that public and charter school employees across Delaware are capable of recognizing signs of non-academic problems in a student’s life and intervening appropriately. At a minimum, these trainings will help improve our kids’ quality of life—and they could even save a life. I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation and I thank my colleagues and Governor Carney for their support.”

The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, which advocated for the legislation, continues Beau’s lifelong commitment to protecting children from the threat of abuse and neglect. In 2011, Beau and his partners at the Delaware Department of Justice, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware and the Delaware YMCA pledged to train 5% of Delaware’s population in the only evidence informed child sexual abuse prevention program in the country – Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children. The Beau Biden Foundation continues to deliver the program, and to date, over 27,000 Delawareans have taken the training.

“We’re thrilled to see Senate Bill 102 signed in to law,” said Patty Dailey Lewis, Executive Director of the Beau Biden Foundation. “Delaware leads the nation in child sexual abuse prevention training. In the next few years, we will reach our goal of educating 5% of our population on ways to recognize the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, react responsibly when a child divulges they’ve been abused, and work to minimize opportunities for predators to harm children. Teachers and school staff are on the front lines of child protection – we stand ready to lead the way and assist them in fulfilling their training requirement.”

“By streamlining the non-academic trainings required by school district and charter school staff, Delaware is providing our state educators with additional flexibility and support,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Schools are now able to reduce the burden of having multiple, different trainings and can also mix and match their training to meet specific professional development needs. This is a win for all educators in the state.”

“As we strive to bring greater awareness to issues such as child abuse and neglect, bullying, teen dating violence, youth gangs and suicide prevention, we recognize that our community partners are on the frontline, helping us protect Delaware’s children every day,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.  “Delaware has thousands of enthusiastic and dedicated educators, school nurses, and counselors, all of whom have frequent contact with our children and play key roles in keeping them safe.  Senate Bill 102 will provide one more tool to help them be the voice for our children. Working together, we can provide a brighter future for Delaware’s children.”

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