State Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, announced plans to draft legislation that would bring control of firearms background checks back to the state.
The Firearm Transaction Approval Process, located under the State Bureau of Identification (SBI), a division of the Delaware State Police (DSP), was in operation until 2011. In that year, control was handed over to the federal government.
Under the proposed legislation, the program would be reinstated, placing the State Police as the point of contact for all firearm transactions.
“I am currently drafting legislation with House Majority Whip Larry Mitchell to create a short-term study committee to review the plan. Following the review, full legislation will be brought forward to complete the reinstatement,” Hocker stated.
“Bringing these decisions and this process back to Delaware will make a clear difference. The evidence shows that this is the right approach, as does my experience as a licensed firearms dealer. Too many times under the old FTAP, I saw the federal background check approve purchasers that the State Police denied,” Hocker added.
According to Hocker, a 2008 analysis of moving background checks to the local level is associated with reduced firearm death rates. One analysis reported a 27 percent lower firearm suicide rate and a 22 percent lower homicide rate associated with local-level background checks.
Twenty-one states use a state or local point of contact to conduct background checks for some or all of its firearm transfers.
Thirteen states use a state or local point of contact for all firearm background checks: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. Eight states use a state or local point of contact for handgun background checks only: Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin.