AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
Maine is a fairly pro-gun state.
That makes sense, seeing how it’s a relatively rural state where guns are routinely used not just for hunting, but also for self-defense. Rural folks tend to understand the need to be as self-sufficient as possible on such matters.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean legislators in the state aren’t always on the lookout to restrict guns in some way, shape, or form. This session is no different, but at least pro-gun voices are being heard.
Dozens of gun-owning residents and advocacy groups, including the National Rifle Association, weighed in Friday on a pile of gun control bills ranging from prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines to instituting 72-hour waiting periods for gun buyers.
Critics filled hearing rooms at the Maine Statehouse to speak emotionally about the dangers of governmental overreach, while supporters inspired by Democratic wins in November called for compromise on gun safety legislation. Lawmakers also weighed bills to regulate 3D printed guns and punish those who store a loaded firearm that a child then uses.
Among the measures is a universal background check proposal similar to one rejected by voters in 2016. Democratic Governor Janet Mills has said lawmakers should respect the wishes of the voters, but they didn’t listen.
The problem with safe storage laws, even those who seek to punish only those whose guns are misused by a child, is that there’s no discernment in the circumstances. A parent in a gated community and armed security patrolling 24/7 isn’t in the same boat as an inner-city parent or one out in the boonies.
Yet the law treats all of them the same.
The problem is, they’re not. Their circumstances are very different. The likelihood that they might need their gun in an emergency depends on multiple factors, factors the law doesn’t consider for a moment.
Safe storage laws make people decidedly unsafe.
Then, of course, we have the hysteria over 3D-printed firearms. To date, none have been used in a crime. The only completely 3D-printed guns available are single-shot pistols that are more of a novelty rather than a genuine threat to the public.
Even if they were, so what? It’s not like criminals are going to look at 3D-printing and think, “I was going to print a gun to commit mass murder, but that’s illegal, so I guess I’ll do something else then.”
In other words, the only people who will be restricted from printing guns would be the people who you don’t have to worry about. Par for the course from anti-gunners, to be fair.
Luckily, pro-gun voices spoke out. That’s important as it’s a reminder to legislators that numerous residents don’t want new gun control bills and will likely unseat lawmakers who vote for them, if possible. If there’s one thing you can trust elected officials on, it’s their desire to remain in office. A warning may well be enough to stop the nonsense here and now.
Then again, it might not, so pro-gun forces in Maine need to keep fighting. If possible, give them a hand regardless of where you are. They need it right now.