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Delaware Governor Signs Gun Safe Storage Law

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Delaware parents now face prison for storing their guns where minors can access them, according to a new law signed by Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney Thursday.

The new law expands on the current Delaware code that makes it illegal to provide minors access to guns, adding charges if gun owners intentionally or recklessly leave loaded firearms within reach of children or adults prohibited from owning guns, WHYY reported.

“This is an important piece of legislation to sign to add to the package last year, the red-flag legislation that was really important to keep firearms away from people with serious mental health issues or showing potentially violent behavior,” said Carney.

Lawmakers amended the final bill to shift the burden of proof from the gun owner to the state, forcing prosecutors to prove someone failed to store their gun properly to get a conviction.

The new law makes unsafe storage a misdemeanor, and a gun owner could face a high-misdemeanor if the unsafely stored firearm is used in the commission of a crime, according to Delaware Online.

Democratic state Rep. Sean Lynn, one of the bill’s sponsors, said he didn’t agree with an amendment that tries to “prove a negative,” but knew it was needed to pass the legislation. (RELATED: New Seattle Gun Law Leaves Homeowners Unprepared For A Break-In)

The bill, which was introduced along with several other gun control measures, has been the only measure to get assembly approval and the governor’s signature. The other bills included a ban on assault weapons, gun magazine restrictions and a permit training requirement.

“We do have tragic loss, but also gun-ownership rights, and I think we did a good job with balancing those issues because it does start with safe-gun ownership,” said Secretary of Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security Robert Coupe, referring to the recent Virginia Beach shooting tragedy.

“The folks who are going to own a weapon have to do it responsibly,” he added.

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