As a Virginian, I really wish the headline above referred to my state. Unfortunately, most Democrats in Virginia are getting ready to launch an all-out assault on the right to keep and bear arms. In Maine, however, Democrats in control of the legislature and the governorship won’t be pursuing an anti-gun agenda this session. From WGME-TV:
Gun safety measures got little traction in the State House this year, with the most contentious fight on a “red flag” bill ending in a compromise between Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. That trend is expected to continue next year.
The Legislative Council blocked all but one bill related to guns from being introduced during its fall sessions. The surviving effort from state Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor, would ban firearms on nursery school and child care facility properties. It remains tabled.
That’s frustrating to some Democrats and gun safety advocates, who thought things would go differently when Democrats took power, and speaks to how much of a nonstarter gun control is in Maine.
As the TV station points out, some Democrats and gun control groups aren’t even happy with the version of the red flag bill that was signed by Governor Mills after input from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine in 2019, because it actually involves mental health professionals and the state’s existing civil commitment laws rather than empowering judges to order the seizure of firearms before someone’s had their day in court.
The first red flag bill this year would have allowed courts to order a person deemed dangerous to temporarily surrender his or her guns. Mills initially seemed to support a similar bill while campaigning in the Democratic primary. But she ultimately worked with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to craft a bill that linked gun seizures to mental health evaluations, which passed overwhelmingly in both houses.
It was supported by gun control group Maine Gun Safety Coalition, although it called it “no substitute” for a red flag law in testimony. And Maura Pillsbury, an outspoken gun safety activist in Freeport, said the bill stigmatized people with mental health issues and that Mills hasn’t “kept her promise” to act on public safety…
“I think the Legislature [has] bought into this idea that this gun culture and gun rights reform are mutually exclusive,” she said. “I think this idea that they can’t coexist, that’s just wrong.”
It’s not wrong. When Pillsbury talks about “gun rights reform,” what she means is “restricting the rights of gun owners.” The modern gun control movement is based on the idea that there are too many guns in the hands of too many people, and both the number of firearms and the number of gun owners need to be dramatically reduced. The only way to do that is to restrict the rights of legal gun owners, eventually turning the rights of the people into a privilege to be granted by the State.
Democrats in Maine are making a wise choice in staying away from gun control in 2020. It’s too bad so many Democrats in other states are bound and determined to pursue a different course, one that puts them in direct conflict with the right to keep and bear arms.