The gun control lobby and anti-gun activists wasted no time in blaming the mass murder in Lewiston, Maine on a lack of gun control laws in the state, and in the weeks since they haven’t let up on their campaign to enact gun and magazine bans, impose waiting periods, and replace the state’s “yellow flag” law with an Extreme Risk Protection Order that offers fewer due process protections and absolutely no mental health component. Just this week progressive activist and former Portland mayor Ethan Strimling blasted Gov. Janet Mills for not immediately calling for a special session on gun control in the wake of the shootings, while revealing some of the plans of House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross and Senate President Troy Jackson, who’ve introduced a couple of shell bills that will be used as vehicles for all kinds of restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.
Although the titles are nondescript, from conversations I have had with one person with direct knowledge of Sen. Jackson’s bill, I expect he will seek to pass some combination of the top four bills needed: an assault weapons ban, a waiting period, universal background checks, and a red flag law replacing the absurd yellow flag law Gov. Mills wrote with the gun lobby. There is no doubt, Speaker Ross will also fight for these four, as she has been a champion for gun safety laws for decades and got three bills closer to the Governor’s desk than any Speaker before her.
On today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co, David Trahan, head of the Sportsmans Alliance of Maine, detailed what he’s learned about the repeated failures of local, state, and federal agencies to prevent the shootings in Lewiston, and says the shootings weren’t the result of a lack of gun control, but rather a “colossal series of errors in judgment made all the way from New York, in the military and the New York police, all the way to Maine.”
Trahan says among those failures are the facts that the killer assaulted a fellow soldier while on a military training exercise in New York but wasn’t arrested, made threats to shoot up a military installation in Maine but was never charged, and was put into an Army medical facility because of his “erratic” behavior but without any followup by officials in Maine once he was released two weeks later.
“We’re going to follow the facts, and where the facts take us is where we’re going to put our energies, while the other side is just irresponsibly putting their blinders on and racing forward with their agenda,” Trahan stated.
While Strimling and other gun control advocates are bashing Gov. Mills for not hopping on the anti-gun bandwagon, Trahan praised the governor for taking a more deliberative approach despite the criticism that’s been coming from some of her fellow Democrats. Still, even without Mills promoting any gun control bills at the moment, Trahan knows a fight is brewing when lawmakers return to Augusta in just a few weeks.
“I met with leadership yesterday,” Trahan informed me, adding that he informed lawmakers the group will be putting up a concerted effort to prevent the state’s “yellow flag” law from being replaced with something that removes the due process protections and mental health evaluations that are currently in place and so problematic for the gun control lobby.
“We know this other stuff is coming and we’ll deal with it, we’ll fight on that as well, but we’re going to fight on this ‘yellow flag’ provision. Our entire Constitution, all of the individual rights that are in it, are not rights for the government or third-parties to use to target someone you don’t like. Everything in the judicial system is set up so that you’re considered innocent until proven guilty. When you go to court you have the right to defend yourself, not an ex parte complaint that’s made without your knowledge. You have the right to face your accuser, you have a right to representation, and you’re considered innocent until the government proves you’re guilty based on the facts.”
Trahan says “red flag” laws flush that concept down the drain.
“It says that you as a gun owner are such a high risk to this society that we’re going to take the word of one person and flush all of those rights away and take your guns away. Guns are guns, but they are a liberty. The Second Amendment guarantees you the right to have firearms,” Trahan emphasized, before engaging in a little thought experiment.
“I was just on the radio this morning calling out the Portland Press-Herald for misrepresenting the facts. What if I could then go file paperwork with the court saying this reporter at the Portland Press-Herald should have his rights to free speech, his First Amendment rights, taken away because he just endangered the public by giving them misinformation? The outcry from the press would rightly be so loud you couldn’t hear anything else going on. They would be screaming bloody murder. But there seems to be a stigma now, a scarlet letter attached to you if you’re a gun owner. You’re already assumed to be a higher danger to the public, and you need a lesser level of rights than everybody else.”
I think that’s undeniably true, at least in some of the parts of the country most hostile to the Second Amendment. Maine hasn’t traditionally been one of those places, but the gun control lobby will be sparing no expense to convince legislators and voters that in order to protect the public at large, a Second Amendment sacrifice is necessary.
Be sure to check out the entire discussion with David Trahan in the video window below, and check out the Sportsmans Alliance of Maine website to volunteer or stay informed as the gun control debate heats up in the weeks to come.