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147th General Assembly
House Bill # 88 w/HA 1, HA 1 to HA 1, HA 2

Primary Sponsor: Barbieri Additional Sponsor(s):    Rep. Hudson & Sen. Sokola
CoSponsors: Reps. Bolden, Longhurst, Mitchell, Schwartzkopf, Scott; Sen. Henry
Introduced on : 04/23/2013
Synopsis of Orginal Bill:
(without Amendments)

This Act is designed to create procedures in Delaware for making sure firearms are not in the hands of dangerous people while protecting due process and not creating a barrier to care for those suffering from mental illness. Unlike other states, this Act intends to put Delaware at the forefront of this important issue by not simply looking narrowly for mental illness. Statistically, mental illness has little to do with homicide perpetration but conversely increases the chance of being a victim of violence. This bill looks instead for propensities of violence, a much more reliable and evidence-based metric. This metric will also ensure that we can provide care to those more likely to commit violent acts and help destigmatize mental illness here in Delaware. Specific components of this Act are set forth below.

This Act applies when a person who has been committed to a hospital for treatment of a mental condition by a judge shall be deemed a person prohibited. The current law appears to apply to “any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder,” but in reality this only applies to persons who have been involuntarily committed and subject to adjudication such as a hearing. It also clarifies that perpetrators of violent crimes who have been found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity, Guilty But Mentally Ill, or Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial are persons prohibited, including juveniles who fall into those categories. The provisions of 1448B will not retroactively apply to any persons adjudicated in the past, which would create undue burden.

This Act expands the definition of “persons prohibited” to include those persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to a court order under the procedures set forth in 1448B of Title 11. Newly created 1448B sets forth a procedure whereby law enforcement, upon receiving a report of a violent person and who is demonstrating behaviors that the provider believes are dangerous can refer the matter to the Department of Justice to petition the Superior Court for an order requiring such person to relinquish the person’s firearms or ammunition.

This Act revises and clarifies an existing statute, 11 Del C. 5402, which currently solidifies the need for mental health professionals to report those with mental illness who may be a threat to others. Currently, the section contains a limited duty of a treating hospital to warn law enforcement of a specific threat, but this clarifies the original intent of the section and requires that to avoid liability that all treating mental health professionals must report dangerous persons to law enforcement. The appropriate law enforcement agency must then determine whether a civil action should be initiated under newly created 1448B of this Title, to relinquish the person’s firearms or ammunition and to take appropriate investigative action.

Pursuant to 1448B, the Court may order dangerous persons to relinquish to a law enforcement officer, voluntarily or otherwise, any firearms or ammunition owned, possessed, or controlled by such person. The Court may also, in its discretion, issue an order directing any law enforcement agency to forthwith search for and seize firearms and ammunition of any such person prohibited upon a showing of good cause by the petitioner. The court order to relinquish firearms would issue upon a finding that the person was prohibited, without further showing. The order authorizing police to search for and seize weapons would require a further showing, akin to an affidavit in support of a warrant, of “good cause” that the prohibited weapons would be found in a particular place or in the possession of the person prohibited.

Any person subject to an order of the Court pursuant to 1448B may petition the Court for an order to return firearms or ammunition by establishing to a preponderance of evidence that he or she is not a danger to self or others.

In addition, as is the case under the current law, any person who is adjudicated to be a person prohibited pursuant to this Act has the opportunity to demonstrate, pursuant to 1448A of Title 11, that he or she is no longer prohibited from possessing a firearm and therefore is no longer a person prohibited.
Current Status: Defeated   On   06/27/2013 05:32:38 PM
Full text of Legislation:
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Fiscal Notes/Fee Impact:Not Required
Amendments: HA 1 w/HA 1 to HB 88 - Passed
HA 1 to HA 1 to HB 88 - Passed
HA 2 to HB 88 - Passed
SA 1 to HB 88 - Defeated
Committee Reports:
House Committee Report 05/08/13 F=2 M=8 U=0---->Committee Report
Senate Committee report 06/05/13 F=0 M=5 U=0----->Committee Report
Voting Reports:
House vote: () Passed 5/14/2013 6:05:32 PM------->Voting Record
Senate vote: () Defeated 6/27/2013 5:32:38 PM------->Voting Record
Actions History:
Jun 27, 2013 - Defeated by Senate. Votes: Defeated 6 YES 13 NO 2 NOT VOTING 0 ABSENT 0 VACANT
Jun 27, 2013 - Amendment SA 1 - Defeated by Senate. Votes: Defeated 9 YES 12 NO 0 NOT VOTING 0 ABSENT 0 VACANT
Jun 27, 2013 - Amendment SA 1 defeated
Jun 27, 2013 - Amendment SA 1 - Introduced in Senate
Jun 05, 2013 - Reported Out of Committee (JUDICIARY) in Senate with 5 On Its Merits
May 16, 2013 - Assigned to Judiciary Committee in Senate
May 14, 2013 - Passed by House of Representatives. Votes: Passed 40 YES 1 NO 0 NOT VOTING 0 ABSENT 0 VACANT
May 14, 2013 - Amendment HA 2 - Passed in House by Voice Vote
May 14, 2013 - Amendment HA 2 - Introduced in House
May 14, 2013 - Amendment HA 1 - Passed in House by Voice Vote
May 14, 2013 - Amendment HA 1 to HA 1 - Passed in House by Voice Vote
May 14, 2013 - Amendment HA 1 to HA 1 - Introduced in House
May 08, 2013 - Reported Out of Committee (HEALTH & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT) in House with 2 Favorable, 8 On Its Merits
May 08, 2013 - Amendment HA 1 - Introduced and Placed With Bill
Apr 23, 2013 - Introduced and Assigned to Health & Human Development Committee in House
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