Dear Representative Viola,
My name is Rob Wiltbank and I reside in District 26. I'm writing on behalf of myself as well as a representative of Delaware Open Carry, a group of individuals who are law-abiding Delaware citizens and engage in the daily peaceable carry of a firearm.
I wanted to bring to your attention House Bill #499, submitted yesterday to the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee. The bill is an intended replacement for Delaware's Safe School and Recreation Zone act and, while the intentions of the sponsoring representatives are laudable, the net effect on law-abiding owners of firearms would be devastating and cause legal confusion should someone attempt to be prosecuted under the law.
We appreciate the "guardian drop-off exception" (§ 1457A(b)(11)); however, there are two glaring ommisions from this bill that are sorely needed:
1) A peaceable journey exception for those lawfully carrying a firearm: As you may know, the numerous educational institutions makes every day travel a cumbersome act while attempting to avoid the 1000' zone. An exception for a person who is carrying or possessing their firearm lawfully where the school is not a destination is condition that makes sense and allows for a person who happens to be traveling within that quarter of a mile distance to not drastically alter their route.
2) A codified exemption for licensed individuals: In the Federal version of the bill, a resident of the state of Delaware who carries Delaware license to carry a concealed deadly weapon (as issued under Title 11, §1442), who is within a Delaware school zone is exempt from the statute. Delaware's version should include this exception -- I've provided a link to a document from the BATF explaining this exception on the Federal level.
As a father of two young girls, I truly do appreciate legislation that makes an honest attempt to keep my children safe; however, if that legislation prohibits me from keeping them safe when I'm otherwise acting in a lawful manner, I'm of the opinion that the legislation needs to be altered.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and invite you to contact me should you have any questions regarding my position.