Grassroots effort supporting tougher gun laws

By Jim Hilgen 11:39pm, February 5, 2013 - Updated 10:39am, February 6, 2013
Excerpts of discussion with Lt. Gov Denn and coalition members
Supporters of gun control legislation proposed in Dover have created a statewide coalition.

WDEL's Jim Hilgen has more.

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence was formed in response to the December shootings in Connecticut.

The group held an organizing meeting in Wilmington to kick off a grassroots effort to enact tougher gun laws.

Members of the newly formed Coalition are looking to make sure their voices are heard on gun issues.

Volunteer Emily Wearne says the coalition is not opposed to the Second Amendment, or gun ownership.

"We're not opposed to hunting. We're not opposed to target shooting. We're not opposed to legitimate sports events. We are opposed to military-style weapons machine-gunning babies," says Wearne.

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State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings joined Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and a representative of the governor at the group's organizational meeting in Wilmington.

She says gun violence can't just be prosecuted away.

"It is a very complex issue. There are societal components. There is the lack of opportunity out these, but we have to do what we can do. And it stops now," says Jennings.

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Walle Adams Gerdts of Wilmington is getting involved because of all she has seen in her work as a nurse.

"They're the ones who see the devastation of these weapons. They're the ones who take care of the sadness and the physical maladies that occur, but just the horrendous pieces that occur."

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Wilmington resident William "Bunny" Adams says he'd like to see an end to the manufacture of assault weapons, but barring that...

"The second suggestion I would have is to produce legislation that assault weapons would only be sold for military purposes, to military outfits, not to the general public," says Adams.

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A package of bills proposed by Governor Markell, Lt. Gov. Denn and Attorney General Beau Biden would ban assault weapons, restrict high-capacity magazines and stiffen background check requirements among other changes.

In response to similar proposals in Washington, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has countered that more laws will not address situations like that at Sandy Hook Elementary, rather beefed up enforcement of existing laws is the answer to preventing gun violence.

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