Gun control push fails in Maine

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The state of Maine is something of an oddball. It’s a blue state that’s also fairly pro-gun. In most other place, it doesn’t work that way, but it does there.


Yet what that does do, however, is give Democrats a lot more opportunities to pass gun control.

After all, it’s become such a part of the party platform that the idea of a blue state not having gun control is something of an abomination to them.

Unfortunately for them, their push to pass it in Maine came up a bit short.

The Maine House of Representatives defeated a measure Tuesday to enshrine a 72-hour waiting period before gun purchases.

Maine sticks out nationally as a Democratic-controlled state with a strong hunting culture that combines loose gun laws and  high levels of gun ownership with lower levels of gun mortality, although federal data from 2021 showed the latter was the highest in New England. Voters in 2016 rejected a referendum on mandatory background checks on private gun sales.

House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, is proposing a similar law this year. The waiting period bill from Rep. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, which would have Maine join seven states with similar laws, was a test to see whether the party could display unity on the fraught issue.

But Republicans and a small number of Democrats defeated the waiting period bill in a 73-69 vote on Tuesday evening. It goes to the Senate for additional votes. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, has taken a dim view of gun control recently.

Maine is an interesting state, to say the least. Mills would appear on paper to be the ideal anti-gun governor, and yet she started her tenure asking the legislature to back off on trying to pass gun control. She’s not exactly espousing support for any gun control measures these days, either, which suggests the possibility of a veto.


The truth is that while Maine is a blue state, it’s a rural blue state. There aren’t major cities filled with progressive causes and sky-high crime.

In other words, they’re Democrats forged in a completely different fire than what you find elsewhere in the nation. As a result, they’re more like the Democrats we had back when I was young.

As such, I suspect you’ll find that there’s still no real appetite for anti-gun rules there despite some people’s best efforts to push them through anyway.

Republicans are the minority, but there are enough Democrats in the legislature willing to side with them that they successfully blocked this. That’s a very good thing.

My only regret is that we don’t have more Democrats like that throughout the nation. Maybe then our rights wouldn’t be under constant assault.

Granted, they’re under attack in Maine, too, but so far, so good.

Now, let’s hope they can keep this up because the gun control crowd isn’t exactly going to roll over and just accept this. Not until it becomes politically untenable for them to maintain this kind of thing. That’s what we need to change.

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