WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden proposed legislation Monday aimed at keeping people considered a danger to themselves or others from getting their hands on guns.
The bill, which Biden called a response to mass shootings in the U.S. by people with known mental health problems, expands the ability of authorities in Delaware to prohibit people with mental health issues from having access to guns.
Under current law, a person who has been committed to a hospital or mental health institution for a mental disorder can be prohibited from possessing a gun.
"The mental health category is too narrow. It needs to be expanded," Biden said.
The legislation proposed Monday would expand the mental health prohibition against possessing guns to include individuals deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Criminal defendants who have been found guilty but mentally ill, not guilty by reason of insanity, or incompetent to stand trial also would be prohibited from having guns.
The bill requires mental health providers, including licensed school counselors, to call police if they believe a person poses a danger to himself or others. Police would investigate and would refer the case to the state Department of Justice if they believe the person shouldn't have access to a gun.
The DOJ could then ask a judge to prohibit the person from owning or possessing a gun. The judge also could order the seizure of any guns that the person owns. In the case of a troubled child, authorities could seize any guns owned by a parent or guardian with whom the child is living.