Gov. Carney and 11 Governors Issue Letter Calling on Federal Government to Take Action on Sensible Gun Safety Measures

Governors call for Red Flag Laws, Universal Background Checks, Banning Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines, Stricter Reporting Requirements

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Governors of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington today issued a letter calling on President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take action on sensible gun safety measures.

Read the letter here:

To: The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump
Cc: Senate Majority Leader, The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Our country continues to mourn the tragic events in Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton, Philadelphia, and Odessa. These five unnecessary and horrific tragedies took at least 34 lives, wounded dozens, and caused emotional trauma to countless others. Unfortunately, these losses account for only a fraction of recent gun-related deaths. In 2019, over 10,000 people have been shot and killed, and 570 people were killed by a gun in the past two weeks alone. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this disturbing trend. Enough is enough.

Public safety is the first and most important responsibility of government, and the failure to act to protect the public is a failure in leadership. As Governors, it is our responsibility to listen to our communities’ calls for action. However, a patchwork of state laws will never be a substitute for coherent national policy.

The federal government has a history of acting on gun reform when the American public demands it. In 1934, the federal government regulated machine guns. In 1968, the federal government banned mail order gun sales. In 1994, the federal government implemented a 10-year ban on assault weapons. Americans are again calling on their government to act, and it’s time to listen.

Putting an end to the gun violence epidemic is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is an American issue. Gun deaths do not have to be the norm. The time is now to break the cycle by enacting four common-sense measures. We implore you to work with Congress to pass sensible gun legislation that includes the following four policies that a majority of Americans support:

  • Pass Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, commonly referred to as Red Flag laws, preventing individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm;
  • Pass universal background checks closing the private gun sales loophole;
  • Outlaw assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and
  • Establish stricter reporting requirements to prevent those deemed by a mental health professional to be a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm

The American public supports action. So do we.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

State of New York

Governor Gavin Newsom

State of California


Governor Ned Lamont

State of Connecticut


Governor John Carney

State of Delaware


Governor JB Pritzker

State of Illinois


Governor Gretchen Whitmer

State of Michigan


Governor Phil Murphy

State of New Jersey


Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

State of New Mexico


Governor Kate Brown

State of Oregon


Governor Tom Wolf

State of Pennsylvania


Governor Gina Raimondo

State of Rhode Island


Governor Jay Inslee

State of Washington


View and download a copy of the Governors’ letter.

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


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Governor Carney Signs “Red Flag” Legislation

HS 1 for HB 222 allows courts to issue a lethal violence protection order when citizens pose a danger to self or others

DOVER, Del. – On Wednesday, Governor John Carney signed House Substitute 1 for HB 222 into law surrounded by members of the General Assembly of both parties, law enforcement, and advocates for gun safety. This legislation, sponsored by Representative David Bentz, allows a court to issue a lethal violence protection order in cases where a family member or law enforcement officer can show that the respondent poses a danger to self or others by owning, possessing, controlling, purchasing or receiving a firearm.

“This new legislation is another tool to help law enforcement and our community confront gun violence,” said Governor John Carney. “One piece of legislation alone will not solve the problem of gun violence, but with a comprehensive approach, along with efforts to strengthen security in our schools, we can make a difference. We’ve made great progress this legislative session and I would like to thank members of the General Assembly and advocates for their tireless work on this issue.”

This bill in the latest in a package of gun safety measures Governor Carney has signed into law this legislative session, including the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, toughening penalties around straw purchases, and banning “bump stocks” in the state.

“Red flag bills are significant components of gun safety reform, and I am so proud that Delaware has led in this effort this year with HS 1 for HB 222. We have taken a significant step forward to protect public safety and hopefully prevent some of these tragic instances of gun violence,” said Representative David Bentz. “While we may not be able to stop every horrific incident, a lethal violence protective order will reduce access to guns and empower citizens and law enforcement to intervene if a loved one presents a danger to themselves or others. Delaware has the opportunity to be model for the entire country with this legislation and it has been an honor to drive the initiative forward.”


“This is an example of a gun bill that everyone should be able to support,” said Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry. “There is no clearer sign that somebody shouldn’t have a gun than a family member, or a member of law enforcement, saying they might hurt themselves or another. HB 222 will save lives without compromising due process. I applaud Rep. Bentz for the yeoman’s work he’s done building consensus around this common-sense reform.”

“I am very pleased to see this measure pass. This proposal accomplished two important goals: protecting the due process rights of Delawareans and providing people recourse whenever they feel immediately threatened and there is strong evidence that a person is a threat,” said Senator Anthony Delcollo. “This bill provides robust protections for civil rights while empowering law enforcement to act for the safety or our community. Thank you to Governor Carney and Representative Bentz for working with me to keep Delawareans safe and preserve these important constitutional protections.”

“This is the type of law that has been proven to save lives in other states,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “It will save lives here, too.”

“Keeping firearms out of dangerous hands is essential to our public safety,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Owning and using guns is a responsibility that must be taken seriously and with caution. When that responsibility is at risk, we have to do all we can to protect those individuals from harming their self or others. Thank you to Rep. Bentz and the members of the General Assembly for supporting this measure and making Delaware safer.”

“In response to demands from Americans to stop gun violence, lawmakers in states across the country are finding the courage to pass bills that can save lives,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “If we’re serious about saving lives, we must continue to be serious about giving families and law enforcement officials the tools they need to prevent people at risk of harming themselves or others from accessing guns. Leaders in Delaware understand this and it’s why they’ve worked tirelessly with gun prevention advocates to sign this legislation into law. I applaud Governor Carney and the Delaware legislature for demonstrating the courage to show Congress and the rest of the country how we can take responsible steps to help keep guns out of the hands of people who are experiencing a crisis.”

“The significance of the bipartisan support for HB 222 cannot be overstated,” said Dennis Greenhouse, chair of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Legislative Fund. “This law passed through the entire General Assembly without a single vote against it, with co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. That is a testament to how hard Rep. David Bentz worked in support of this bill, and he did work tirelessly to bring people together and to craft truly meaningful legislation. We cannot thank him enough. Lethal Violence Protection Orders will protect our family members, our friends and our neighbors in their most vulnerable moments. In just the past few weeks, new research has shown that states that enact Red Flag laws see significant decreases in gun-related suicides. This is what we mean when we talk about common-sense gun violence legislation — and this law will save lives in Delaware.”

“This bill strengthens our current state law by creating a mechanism to temporarily prohibit individuals that pose an immediate threat of harm to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms,” said Robert Coupe, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. “Allowing law enforcement officers to request an emergency lethal violence protective order through the Justice of the Peace Court creates a process that can be quickly utilized in emergency situations thus increasing public safety.”

“Today is a momentous occasion. This Red Flag bill signing demonstrates that Delaware continues to lead the way across the country on common sense gun policies,” said Sarah Stowens, volunteer leader with the Delaware chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We could not be more proud of Governor Carney and lawmakers in the First State for making a serious commitment to gun safety and taking a critical step toward protecting our communities from gun violence.”

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




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

Click here to watch video from the bill signing.

Click here for photos from the bill signing.

Governor Carney’s Statement on Bump Stock Ban

DOVER, Del.Governor John Carney on Thursday issued the following statement after signing legislation to ban bump stock devices in Delaware:

“Delaware has made progress in strengthening our gun safety laws this legislative session with the support of students and advocates across the state, and today is no exception. By signing this bill into law, we are saying that there is no place in Delaware for bump stocks and other devices that are used to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons, making these weapons even more potentially deadly. This ban is one piece in a package of comprehensive gun safety legislation that will help us protect Delawareans. I want to thank Representative Longhurst for her leadership on this issue, and members of the General Assembly of both parties for coming together to protect our communities.”

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



Governor Carney’s Statement on Assault Weapons Legislation

DOVER, Del. Governor John Carney on Wednesday released the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s action on Senate Bill 163:

“I am extremely disappointed that the full Delaware Senate will not get a chance to vote on Senate Bill 163. As we’ve seen in mass shootings across our country, these weapons can be used to cause catastrophic damage, and allow those intent on doing harm to outgun members of law enforcement. Over the past several months – since the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. – students in Delaware and across our country have called on lawmakers to pass reasonable gun safety restrictions that will make our state and country safer. I have met with student leaders in Delaware, and could not be more impressed with their leadership on this issue. I hope they continue to speak up. I hope all adults are listening.”

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


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Governor Carney Signs House Bill 174, Strengthens Penalties on “Straw Purchases”

Senator McDowell, Rep. Mitchell legislation makes jail time more likely for purchasers of illegal guns

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney signed legislation on Wednesday alongside members of the General Assembly, law enforcement and gun safety advocates, that strengthens penalties for illegal purchases of firearms, deterring “straw purchases” by making jail time more likely for the offender.

In 2013, Delaware became the eighth state to require that gun owners report lost or stolen weapons to police. Today, Delaware has taken additional steps to confront illegal transfer of weapons. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Harris McDowell and Representative Larry Mitchell, 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.

“This legislation takes necessary steps to toughen the penalties for purchasing a gun illegally,” said Governor Carney. “This passed with support from both parties, emphasizing our state’s commitment to confronting the issue of gun violence. I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly on this issue to make communities across our state safer.”

“Straw purchasers are circumventing the laws that we have set up to interdict illegal firearms,” said Senator Harris McDowell. “We have to stop them if we are going to keep our families, neighborhoods, and law enforcement officers safe. Anyone who would purposefully buy a firearm with the intent to put it in the hands of a dangerous criminal deserves to face charges that not only fit the crime, but also make clear that nobody is above the law. I think we have done that with this bill, and I am proud to have sponsored it.”

“Reducing gun violence throughout Delaware requires a multi-pronged approach. There is no single effort that will solve the problem, so we have to be open to several different efforts,” said Representative Larry Mitchell. “Studies into gun-trafficking cases have shown that straw purchases are a huge part of the problem – nearly half of gun-trafficking cases involved straw purchases. If people know that significant jail time is more likely, we can hopefully reduce these crimes before they occur.”

“Every step we take to prevent gun violence in Delaware is a step in the right direction. Every step is meaningful,” said Dennis Greenhouse, Chair of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. “The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence applauds this legislation and the bipartisan support it received in the General Assembly. Making our communities safer is a goal we can all unite behind.”

“The Delaware State Police stands with the Governor and members of the General Assembly in support of this legislation as it specifically focuses on increasing consequences for those that purchase and illegally supply guns to those that cannot and should not have them. In some cases these are the very guns that contribute to gun violence and significantly impact the safety of communities across the state,” said Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr., Superintendent of the Delaware State Police.

The bill signing can be viewed here:

Visit to learn more about Governor Carney’s call for comprehensive gun safety reforms.




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