Maine Democrats may show others the way forward

Maine Democrats may show others the way forward
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

We tend to be pretty harsh on Democrats here at Bearing Arms, but, well, there’s a reason for that. For better or worse, one party tends to oppose gun rights more than anyone else. While Republicans can and occasionally do take anti-gun positions, it’s not nearly as common as in the ranks of their opposition, where it’s almost a requirement for membership.

But, technically, it’s not. You don’t have to be anti-gun to be a Democrat.

Evidence of that can be found in Maine. There, Rep. Jared Golden won his seat in a right-leaning district and received an “A+” grade from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Further, the one-time anti-gun Governor has muted the attacks of her GOP challenger by now opposing gun control.

Support for gun control rose earlier this year after a spate of mass shootings. In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills has kept the issue on the back burner.

The Democratic governor supported gun control when she was in a contested 2018 primary, including banning high-capacity magazines and passing a red-flag law. But she warded members of her party off from raising gun control early in her tenure. In a recent Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine questionnaire, she opposed magazine limits and a red-flag law.

Mills’ reversal on key gun issues makes it unlikely that Maine’s relaxed gun laws will change if she is reelected. Voters here rejected a 2016 referendum that would have expanded background checks. The Maine Constitution says gun rights “shall never be questioned.”

Her opposition has led to disappointment among advocates of gun control in Maine, most of whom still plan to vote for her over former Gov. Paul LePage, a more ardent gun-rights supporter endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

While the NRA obviously prefers LePage, the truth is that while Maine tends to vote Democrat–the GOP hasn’t won the state in a presidential election since 1988–they’re also pretty pro-gun. They’re a constitutional carry state in New England, for crying out loud.

Since Mills has actively turned on two of the most popular gun control measures up for consideration, it effectively blunts pro-gun efforts to replace her.

And because of that, the gun rights supporters who can and often do turn out to oppose anti-Second Amendment candidates aren’t going to be nearly as motivated.

Honestly, if there were more sane Democrats like Golden and–now, at least–Mills, we probably wouldn’t have nearly the division we have in this country.

Instead, we have people who look at the Bruen decision and decide to willfully ignore it simply because they don’t like it.

Now, understand that Golden may well be a true believer in gun rights based on his voting against pretty much every gun control bill his fellow Democrats trotted out over the last two years, but Mills is more of a question. She apparently flipped her support once, which means she may always do so again, but not if she’s essentially rewarded for it.

It should be noted, however, that Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine gave her an A+ rating as well, though LePage got an incomplete score because he said he wasn’t sure of his stance on a couple of issues.

Maine may well be a beacon for Democrats. They’d do well to watch and learn.