Maine Lawmakers Propose Tougher Gun Control Laws Amid Outcry and Opposition

Maine lawmakers are currently debating on introducing tougher gun control measures in the state following the tragic incident in Lewiston, the state’s deadliest mass shooting on record. Some welcome stricter measures, but there are also a number of people who oppose these developments. Here’s the full story.

Maine’s Gun Control Showdown

Democrats in Main have introduced various bills aiming to help stamp out gun crime, including bills that would require a 72-hour waiting period to purchase certain guns, expanded background checks, and increased funding for the state’s mental health services.

Gun control advocates rallied within the State House in an effort to push lawmakers to pass these bills. Moms Demand Action, a grassroots activist group that has made headlines in the past few years, took a group of almost 100 people to the House, all calling for tougher measures on Gun Control.

One spokesperson said, “We must invest in mental health services and enact laws that keep guns out of the hands of those in a mental health crisis,” comments which were echoed by a second activist, who said, “The level of gun violence in this country and in this state is unacceptable.”

Students Demand Action also rallied alongside Moms Demand Action in support of stricter gun control measures, including a stronger “red flag” law and a ban on assault-style weapons.

Closing Loopholes

The proposed measures aim to address loopholes in existing gun laws and enhance public safety.

Maine is a state with a strong hunting culture and a liberal stance on guns. While there were many advocates for tougher gun control measures, these new bills prompted an outcry from certain sectors, which argued that lawmakers were attacking their 2nd amendment rights.

Governor’s Gambit

Currently, Maine doesn’t require a background check for the sale of a gun, which is a key point that Maine Governor Janet Mills is seeking to address. She wants to require sellers to run a background check if they’re selling a gun to someone they don’t know.

Among the proposed legislation, Senator Peggy Rotundo introduced a bill for a 72-hour waiting period, while Senator Anne Carney sponsored a ban on bump stocks (which make guns fire faster.) 

Representative Vicki Doudera’s initial proposal for a voluntary do-not-sell list was amended to establish a task force to study the feasibility of such a system. 

Governor Mills proposed mental health reforms and enhancements to the “yellow flag” law, which aims to prevent individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others from accessing firearms. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck emphasized the goal of finding bipartisan consensus, but concerns were raised by both Democrats and Republicans about certain provisions in the bills. 

Seeking Consensus on Gun Control

A key point of contention was the use of the word “recklessly” in the law penalizing gun sales to banned individuals and the use of “reliable hearsay” in extending weapons restrictions.

The effectiveness of the “yellow flag” law came under scrutiny following the Lewiston shooting, which has prompted calls for improvements in mental health services and violence prevention.

However, Justin Davis (the Maine NRA State Director) and Laura Whitcomb (President of Gun Owners of Maine) accused lawmakers of using Lewiston to “push their agenda” in an op-ed published in the Maine newspaper Bangor Daily.

Gun Rights Advocates Make Their Stand

Advocates argue that these new bills “would disarm law-abiding citizens and are out-of-step with our proud gun-owning heritage.” Pointing to NRA statistics, they stated that these new policies would not reduce violent crime and are simply an attempt to enforce larger gun control measures that would turn “otherwise law-abiding Mainers into criminals for the simple act of owning a legally purchased firearm.”

Other gun rights advocates echoed these concerns. David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (a hunting and gun owner advocacy organization), opposed the new bills, stating, “There are many reasons people need or want a firearm. It is not your right to dismiss my liberty and safety to satisfy your fear of firearms.”

Finding Common Ground on Gun Laws

It’s clear that gun control reform in Maine will be a challenging issue to balance. As Maine lawmakers continue their deliberations, they focus on crafting effective legislation to enhance public safety while respecting Second Amendment rights.

The post Maine Lawmakers Propose Tougher Gun Control Laws Amid Outcry and Opposition first appeared on Swift Feed.

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