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Delaware Senate Democrats

Delaware Gun Violence Forum to Bring Together Local, National Experts For Daylong Event On Jan. 9

December 2, 2019

WILMINGTONSen. Stephanie Hansen will host a daylong Delaware Gun Violence Forum on Jan. 9, just days before state lawmakers reconvene for the second half of the 150th General Assembly.

The event at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington will feature a series of panel discussions on topics that include the home sale of firearms, the current process for conducting background checks on people and on guns for resale, training and licensing requirements, defining assault weapons, mass violence, and Delaware gun-related crime statistics.

Hansen believes those discussions will help provide lawmakers and the public with some clarity on the most pressing gun violence issues facing our state, along with some of the challenges that lay ahead.

“I want to make clear that this forum is not slated toward gun control or gun rights, nor is it tied to the advancement of any specific bill or proposal,” she said. “The goal is to set aside the picket signs and bullhorns, and focus on the facts so that we can make a sober evaluation of where things stand now and foster more constructive conversations around this issue.”

Due to limited seating availability, attendance at the forum will be through invitation only. In addition to lawmakers, limited seating is being offered to panel organizations, the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, and groups on both sides of this issue.

Members of the press are welcome to cover the event. Panel discussions also will be livestreamed from Sen. Hansen’s Facebook page.

One of the leading debates in the General Assembly in recent years is over how lawmakers can protect Delawareans from gun violence without infringing on the Constitutional freedoms of law-abiding gun owners.

That contentious issue is expected to be front and center again in the second half of the 150th General Assembly as lawmakers jockey to advance or halt legislation in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings in Texas, Ohio and California.

Sen. Hansen believes the Delaware Gun Violence Forum on Jan. 9 can help provide baseline answers to several questions about the issue, such as:

What types of firearms are used in Delaware gun crimes and how are they being acquired? Who is authorized to sell firearms from their homes and how are those sales regulated? How does Delaware’s firearm background check system actually work? When is firearm training required in this state? What does the phrase “assault weapons” mean?

“We can’t cover every side of this issue even at a daylong event, but we can gather facts that hopefully will serve as a starting point for future conversations in Legislative Hall,” Sen. Hansen said. “I believe the only way we can work through this debate and find solutions is to work together. My hope is that conversation can begin at the Delaware Gun Violence Forum.”

The Delaware Gun Violence Forum will feature five, 60-minute-long discussions among panelists that include prosecutors and defense attorneys, law enforcement, firearms experts, gun shop owners, physicians and others. Public comment will be limited to brief question-and-answer periods between the audience and panelists following each session.

The featured speaker at the forum will be Dr. James L. Knoll IV, director of forensic psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Knoll is nationally known for his work examining the psychology of mass shooters and has served as a consulting forensic expert for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, NASA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies.

A full schedule of events and a list of panelists will be available prior to the event.