Valerie Longhurst
Source: Delaware General Assembly web site
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Source: Delaware General Assembly web site

Delaware House Bill 277 is one of the unintentionally funniest bits of legislation I’ve seen in a while, thanks to Rep. Valerie Longhurst‘s (the House Majority Leader, no less) monumentally poor wording. If passed, every machinist, metal worker, plumber, and construction worker in the Blue Hen State would need a Federal Firearms License (FFL). And that’s just one of its problems.

As Legiscan describes Rep. Longhurst’s legislative opus . . .

This bill establishes the crimes of possession of an unfinished firearm frame or receiver with no serial number, possession of and manufacturing a covert or undetectable firearm, possession of and manufacturing an untraceable firearm, and manufacturing or distributing a firearm using a three-dimensional printer. This bill also makes it a crime to possess a firearm frame or receiver with a removed, obliterated, or altered serial number.

Let’s run down the list of unintentional comedy.

“Firearm frame or receiver” means the part of the firearm that provides housing for the firearm’s internal components, and includes the hammer, bolt or breechblock, action, and firing mechanism.

That’s poorly phrased. That makes barrels firearms. Ditto hammers, bolts, and breechblocks, in and of themselves. Longhurst probably should have phrased that as “…internal components, to include the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism.”

I’ve no idea what “action” is supposed to mean since the bill separately lists the firing mechanism and other parts. Possibly it would be the firing pin. I suspect she was trying to match the federal definition of firearm — clumsily — but that still leaves her with the problem of AR lower receivers not meeting the definition.

“Unfinished firearm frame or receiver” means a firearm frame or receiver that requires further machining or molding in order to be used as part of a functional firearm, and which is designed and intended to be used in the assembly of a functional firearm.”

Congratulations. Rep. Longhurst has replicated Pennsylvania’s unfinished frame/receiver fiasco. Since it sets no threshold for machining, it makes every billet or sheet of metal in Delaware a firearm. Steel pipe, too. A length of 2×4 lumber will also meet that description, since I’ve seen several several zip guns in which the trigger/hammer assembly is housed in the block.

Add plumbers and construction workers to the list of people needing an FFL.

“No person shall knowingly transport, ship, transfer, or sell an unfinished firearm frame or receiver unless all of the following apply…
(1) The person is a federally licensed gun dealer.”

That’s good for another chuckle. To possess a functional firearm, one would not need an FFL. But to possess a block or sheet of metal that cannot fire a round requires an FFL.

“The person maintains records for the unfinished firearm frame or receiver in accordance with the requirements for maintenance of records in 18 U.S.C. § 923.”

That machining threshold bites her in the nether fundament again. 18 U.S.C. § 923(g) specifies what can — and must — go into the bound book. It does not include unfinished frames/receivers with no more than 80% of the machining completed (per ATF guidance).

If FFLs list blocks and sheets of metal in their book, they’ll be violating 18 U.S.C. § 923, and I suspect the DOJ will want to have a heart-to-heart chat with Delaware’s governor; maybe Rep. Longhurst, too.

“Distributes by any means, including the internet, to a person who is not licensed as a manufacturer, instructions in the form of computer-aided design files…”

Welcome to the Crypto Wars: “the software shall not be considered or treated as ‘technology.'”

Rep. Longhurst, people have been making firearms for a good 900 years. That horse is out of the barn. The cat is out of the bag.

Much of the rest of her bill redundantly duplicates federal law. Undetectable firearms have been illegal for 31 years. “Covert” firearms have been heavily regulated for 86 years. While not outright illegal, they are taxed and registered, and require federal permission. But if she wants to dump the expense of prosecuting those cases on her own state courts, have a blast.

Does Delaware actually let Rep. Longhurst wander around without a minder guardian?

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    • This is not ‘stupid’, and don’t mistake it as such. This is a very deliberate act designed to make it so difficult to comply that you just give up. For them, that’s a win.

      At this point, all we can do is hope that these insults finally pushes the high Court to slap all that bullshit down by declaring strict scrutiny applies to the 2A.

      Even then, that’s still a can-o-worms, and they will fight each and every exception.

      Save us, Obi-Wan Clarence Thomas, you are our only hope…

      • *nods*

        Yep, I’m thinking the language in this bill is a a feature, not a flaw (I hope I’m using that expression correctly). It’s going to throw up all sorts of anti-2A road blocks simply because of the confusion it’s going to cause. Even it is eventually struck down, it takes time for a challenge to work its way through the system.

        Rep. Longhurst probably doesn’t know diddly about firearms, but I’m betting she knows how to work the gears of bureaucracy and red tape all too well.

        • “Even [if it’s] eventually struck down, it takes time for a challenge to work its way through the system.”

          And money. Lots of money. And support from a a larger organization like NRA, GOA, 2AF, etc. How many INDIVIDUALS can absorb the cost and/or risk incurred by arrest/trial/conviction/appeal while it “works through the system?”

          Job? Gone. House? Gone. Apartment? Evicted. Savings? Gone. No more college or retirement fund…or groceries.

          This is the plan. Whittle away at the individual.

          Individuals will have to make a choice based on their personal risk analysis.

      • I am getting too old for it also between all the gun laws and hunting and fishing rules changes you don’t know what to do except stay home behind locked and posted fenced gates

    • This is not stupid. This is not overly broad. And seriously could pass. And citizens will suffer for it. It isn’t broad because it gives conditions: “…which is designed and intended to be used in the assembly of a functional firearm.” It specifically states intent so regular pipes and sheetmetal are generally exempt but 80%ers are not. Frames are a no go. Not even unbent flats because that is their intent. It would also setup for intent-to-construct/constructive-posession charges with blocks/units of material and gunparts or plans. In other words, it is a law that allows prosecutors to determine the parameters of evidence so long as they establish intent. An example is possession of gas pipes and web searches of slam bang shotguns, and viola, constructive-posession of an unregistered ghost receiver. Not mentioning the obvious bureaucratic prosecutions of course.

      It bans 3d printing in firearms, possibly expanding to parts in the future as well.

      Not only that but it is a jab at Defense Distributed with 3d printing and would allow the state to legally sue and criminalize them with certainty of victory, atleast at the state level. And possibly as a stretch, sue and criminalize any internet service provider or website host that allows gathering of the then illicit information as a result of loss of net neutrality, and thus chilling the second amendment by government-mandated corporate tyranny.

      And as far as the FFL part goes, it will be argued that anyone who can own a firearm could obtain an FFL, disregarding that it is more complicated than that, so it isn’t restrictive and doesn’t prevent individuals from legally obtaining firearms or making them and as a result doesn’t infringe individual rights.

      This is not grasping at straws, and would be foolish to ignore. This needs to be treated seriously, this is how it will be used and needs to be pointed out.

      That said the Representative may be an idiot but the tyrants that will abuse this are no fools.

  1. This is what happens when uneducated, uninformed, elitist women with no useful skills are elected to an office they are not qualified to hold by other uneducated, uninformed elitist women. When I say uneducated, I don’t mean they didn’t go to college, I mean they never learned how life and things work, they operate strictly on emotions. Statistically, if only men voted, a Democrat would never get elected again.

      • Oh, about her ‘skills’ :

        From her bio page : ” Valerie spent her early adult years working in the insurance industry. She formerly worked for AIG Insurance in Chadds Ford, Pa. During her tenure, she advanced her career from corporate trainer to quality assurance manager and ultimately to director of operations.”

        This explains *so much*… 😉

    • I think this applies equally well to the majority of democrat beta males and prog republicans that are in office. I don’t think the AWFL’s have a corner on ignorance and evil intentions.

        • Technically that was Scranton but he did make his fortune in the land of the DuPonts and INC headquarters. Pity the tax free shopping and generally loose gun laws did make for fun range/resupply trips.

  2. Good grief. Just when you think you’ve seen the dimmest bulb in the string, another one comes along with even fewer photons being emitted.

    The best way to deal with this bill would be for a FFL to hand this woman an unfinished receiver. Not for an AR-15, but for a Remington 700. To a woman of her very modest intellectual gifts, a Remington 700 receiver would look like a short piece of steel pipe.

    After she is in possession of said piece of steel pipe, have state law enforcement arrest her.

    • My vote is give her a fence post and inform her she’s holding a STEN. Or perhaps the side of a washing machine and inform her that the AK she’s holding is illegal.

    • Dyseptic Gunsmith,

      After she is in possession of said piece of steel pipe, have state law enforcement arrest her.

      Unfortunately, no prosecutor in the state would charge her under that law. They would grant her the, “She did not intend to harm anyone,” excuse.

      • D.A.s give exemptions when it fits political expediency. Or conversely, they make examples of certain deplorables while maintaining such exemptions for their own.

        …such as how that one arrest during last week’s protest in Richmond was for a young lady wearing a mask that obscured her face (despite the temperature being below freezing much of the day) in violation of law, while photographs abounded showing many LEOs wearing full balaclavas.

        Good for me, but not for thee, eh Richmond?

        • The woman arrested was an “antifi” harassing people. She was wearing a bandana, not a fleece balaklava. She also had her jacket unzipped, so kind of hard to say she was cold. She was wearing the bandana to conceal her indentity while harassing people.

          A lot of 2A folks and LE were wearing some sort of warm covering over their faces, however it was cold and they weren’t harassing people.

        • Yes, I watched the video and IMO, she talked herself into it. The police asked her, minimally, three times to take it off as it was warmer than 30 degrees. She and her husband (dunno, maybe wife as I don’t want to presume anything) were mouthing off. She earned it, so, NFG. Honestly, it is a stupid law, but founded in anti-klan legislation so it’s still on the books. Probably helpful for Virginia to have it, though, for facial recognition purposes.

    • “The best way to deal with this bill would be for a FFL to hand this woman an unfinished receiver.”

      Or show her the URL for the AK-47 built from a garden spade, that TTAG *refuses* to allow me to link to.

      Google AK-47 and shovel…

  3. Okay TTaG. Stop it with the comment black-holing.

    I just attempted four times to provide a comment. All four times I had to check-off the “I am not a robot” Captcha.

    And each time I made the comment shorter and simpler. The final comment simply contained a block quote of ONE sentence from the author, a block quote of ONE sentence from the proposed bill, and four short sentences explaining my opinion.

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to black-hole a response like that.

    • “Okay TTaG. Stop it with the comment black-holing.”

      What he said. Can TTAG explain why it REFUSES to allow the AK-47 shovel link from northeast shooter to be linked?

      The comment just evaporates into a black hole, never to be seen again…

    • Been happening to many of us at an increasing frequency for several weeks now. I know Dan reads the comments from time to time…don’t know why there hasn’t been a response to this issue. It’s to the point that almost half of my attempts to post comments “fail” or get shifted over to the CAPTCHA, so I simply cancel.

      If it’s happening to many of us, across all our various devices, platforms, IP addresses/areas, and operating systems, then the common denominator is TTAG itself. Needs to be fixed.

      • Speaking of black holing, what happened to the other article that was posted earlier this morning. I (and a couple others) commented, and now the entire article’s gone. This also happens about once per week.

        • If need be, I’ll start screenshotting the TTAG splash feed every time I come here. Next time it happens, I’ll email you before/after shots.

          I’m certain someone there on the admin side knows what’s going on. I’ve seen several articles disappear in their entirety after I (and other users) have already posted comments. Next time I refresh the splash feed an hour later, a particular article is simply gone, never to return. Gremlins.

    • We’re seeing WordPress shunting some comments directly to trash for some reason rather than holding them for moderation. No apparent reason.

      We’re working on fixing this. In the mean time, I’ll be trolling the trash pile and restoring non-spam comments that are dumped there. Sorry for the inconvenience.


  4. Delaware is run by democrats but hasn’t gone full bore banning guns because 2 of 3 counties are still rural. Once they populate the middle if the state with transplants from NJ, MD and PA they’ll move on bans.

    • Delaware had a “assault weapon” ban introduced into the last legislative session. It never made it out of committee. The committee chair stated there was no overwhelming popular support for the bill. I suspect the same will happen to this one, but, who knows?

      Delaware politics are controlled by New Castle county, urban and solid blue. To the south is Kent County, mostly rural, reddish-purple (Dover AFB is there, which goes red. State capitol is there too, which goes blue). All the way to the south is Sussex, rural and solid red except for the shoreline which is all condos owned by gubmint lackeys from DC.

      It all makes for some fun and interesting politics.

  5. My God what has happened to our Great United States? Did Obama ruin the entire Nation?

    • our mistake is to continue to believe they’re “stupid”…when there’s clearly a method to their madness….

  6. Ignorance of firearms is virtue-signalling.
    Pointing out the errors is gunsplaining.
    Knowledgeable input is aggressively avoided during the drafting process because that would require being in the same room with the evil NRA gun lobby, who might snap at any moment and embark on a killing spree.

  7. Whether or not this is stupid depends on your point of view. If you want a law that most people would consider rational, one that follows the rules laid out in “Eight Ways to Fail to Make Law” by Lon L. Fuller then yeah, this is the epitome of stupid.

    If OTOH you want a law tailored from the jump towards the concept of selective enforcement against those you deem to be undesirable, well, you couldn’t do much better.

    Intentional or not this law is basically custom designed to create an abusive situation.

  8. It’s easy to imagine that every piece of legislation on any subject written by Ms. Longhurst is equally badly researched and misinformed

  9. I am from Delaware, and this is just another one of our libretarded idiot reps proving that she doesn’t know a damned thing about firearms at all. These idiots would like to make common criminals out of law abiding citizens who are doing nothing more than enjoying what I deem an American past time. Delaware has had these libretards attacking the 2A for a couple of years and they just keep at it, but those of us that believe in the 2A keep showing up and stopping them. Not quite sure how long that will last, it seems they are emboldened how the idiots in VA are acting even after being shown they are dead wrong.

    • Since you’re a constituent, why don’t you call her staff and make the suggestion that she go with her security detail to a shooting range of their choice? Ask that she spend just one hour being trained by a certified instructor on a handgun and an AR-15. If she still screams “evil gunz!” from the rooftops, at least she’ll be more credible. But I’ve never had any newbie ever not enjoy him/herself and want to come back again for more.

      • Valerie Longhurst at a gun range??? That will never, never, never happen.

        I go down that road all the time, writing to “my” representatives. I’ve never been invited out for a cup of coffee, let alone a trip to the gun range. All I ever get by way of response is pre-programed boiler plate. It’s all very condescending, written as if the gubmint toadies always get the last word and the hoi paloi just needs to shut up and listen. It’s very discouraging and, even worse, very alienating. But I keep at it.

    • You can’t expect politicians to be experts, or even have the most rudimentary basic knowledge, on the topics they are trying to legislate. Unfortunately.

  10. As a former federal bureaucrat, I am insulted and embarrassed that the staff of this woman cannot write an elegant and tight regulation that accomplishes chaos.

    If I had been on her staff, I would have written the legislation thus: “Any material or item that can, as of the effective date of passage of this regulation into law, or ever, become part of a firearm is construed as to be a firearm. Such material or item must be micro-stamped with a serial number readable with the naked eye. The micro-stamping must be accomplished such that no material or item will be rendered with an incomplete serial number. Each person who comes into contact with a firearm will permanently record the event, including time of day, location, and actions taken. Such records will remain available for inspection by law enforcement, at any time. Any person who possesses, transports, or otherwise causes materials or items to be moved from its condition in nature must hold a valid Federal Firearms License. Violations of this regulation will result in permanent prohibition of being within 100 feet of materials or items that are, or may be used in the manufacture of firearms. Violations may also be accompanied by a fine, not to exceed $100,000.”

      • “*slow clap*”

        Thank you. Thank you. You’re a great audience. I’ll be here all week; invite you friends.

        Oh, and do try the Veal; it’s a specialty of the restaurant.

    • ” Each person who comes into contact with a firearm will permanently record the event, including time of day, location, and actions taken. Such records will remain available for inspection by law enforcement, at any time. ”

      Still too loose. Such records need to be notarized and submitted to law enforcement within 24 hours. Failure to do so may be prosecuted as a felony.

      Fixed it for ya.

      • “Still too loose. Such records need to be notarized and submitted to law enforcement within 24 hours. Failure to do so may be prosecuted as a felony.
        Fixed it for ya.”

        Good idea. I left the record keeping a bit vague so as to leave room for capricious actions and decisions by government. Figgered that was a good way to ensure uncertainty enough to allow for overreach and mischief.

  11. “This bill establishes the crimes of possession of an unfinished firearm frame or receiver with no serial number…”

    So does this mean that to comply with this law, everyone in Delaware needs to engrave a serial number on every hunk of metal, sheet of metal, plumbing pipe, sink drain, block of wood, slab of plastic, etc? Good luck with that! There are hundreds of feet of plumbing pipe in every house, mostly hidden behind walls.

    Amazon sells aluminum pencil holders in the shape of giant revolver cylinders, so are these now “unfinished firearm frames” in Delaware? Do these pencil holders now need serial numbers engraved on them, or must everyone with a pencil holder on their desk apply for an FFL?

  12. Is she a protege of Joe the Gaffer? She evidently hasn’t read any gun laws or anything mechanical. She is also dumber than owl crap! JEEZ and she’s in government? That would smelters would need an FFL. All machine shops, auto parts stores. That could be hilarious!

  13. Folks ought to remember or be reminded that most laws proposed in most legislations in the US are actually first written by interns and aides to the particular senator or representative. They may or may not receive any close supervision. Some may be legal students but a lot perhaps most are children of the legilators big or important donors.

    Thus the ridiculous and poorly worded and technically in error legislation produces by our legislations through out the land.

    Don’t know how much vetting is done by a lawyer or two but since this is law in the making that leaves a lot of room to try to enact stupid stuff.

    Just Sayin’.

  14. Sure, force everyone to obtain a FFL, then we can ACTUALLY ship guns to the door steps and have all the mags and machine guns we want.

    Good call Delaware.

    • No worries, the next bill will take care of that.
      -No real FFL privileges, unless you have the new, super expensive, unobtainable extra special licence.

  15. Not a single State of State or Federal Firearms law, regulation, code, rule, etc. applies to American State Nationals. Get a clue people. The people are without the jurisdiction of the Federal Government except within Federal Enclaves. The people created the Federal Government and the creation can not be more powerful than the creator.

    All Federal laws only apply to Federal Citizens such as those in the federal Territories, such as Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, etc. and the Municipal citizens of Washington, District of Columbia. If you are born a Federal Citizen the Constitution does not apply to you.
    The Constitution only applies to the people who were born within any of the fifty independent Nation States. You are a Citizen of the State you were born in, an American State National, and not a US Citizen or citizen of the United States which are statutory citizens defined under the Constitution and the 14th Amendment.

    Wake up. American is not the “United States”, period, end of story.

    For instance, the so-called Governor of Virginia is the just Governor of the “Commonwealth of Virgina” which is a private incorporated legal entity no different than FedEx or Dairy Queen and any of its laws only apply to those who are employed by that corporation or paid by them. That commonwealth is not defined by any surveyed land area as is “Virginia”. If you don’t work for the “Commonwealth of Virgina” it rules, laws, and regulations do not apply to you. Law Enforcement Officers are just that. They enforce the rules, laws, and regulations of the corporation they are employed by. They are not Peace Officers enforcing the Constitution of the people. The people are without the rules, laws, and regulations of private corporation.

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