Maine Gov. Janet Mills is in a tough spot.
Following Lewiston, there’s a massive debate going on in the state regarding gun control. Mills, a Democrat, has been pretty resistant to previous calls for anti-gun measures, though Lewiston has upset that particular apple cart pretty well.
But on the same token, she can’t afford to appease the anti-gunners at the expense of pro-gun voices and groups.
So, she made a proposal that takes some steps but doesn’t go as far as some would like. It calls for more background checks, but falls well short of universal background checks, and strengthening the state’s “yellow flag” law.
And, it seems, no one is happy with the result.
Leaders from some nonprofit organizations, like Everytown for Gun Safety, said Mills’ proposals are a step in the right direction, but her proposed measures don’t not go far enough.
Kathleen McFadden is a volunteer at Everytown, and she’s the chapter lead for Moms Demand Action. McFadden said Everytown is still pushing for legislation to require gun salesmen to enforce a72-hour waiting period for people who are looking to purchase a gun.
“The narrative that criminals will always get their hands on guns—we should be doing everything conceivably possible to stop that,” McFadden said.
Other organizations, like the nonprofit Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said they don’t support a three-day cool off period for people who desire to purchase firearms.
David Trahan, the organization’s executive director, said enforcing cool-off mandates could be dangerous for and possibly prevent people from protecting themselves if they feel that they are in immediate danger.
It’s not all bad news for Mills, though. Trahan actually liked one aspect of her proposal. That one is to open crisis centers across the state. Trahan argues that one will have an immediate impact and save an untold number of lives because, as he put it, “People need help when they need it, not when it’s convenient for the providers or when health care can provide it.”
I can’t agree more.
Mills is in a tough spot, and I recognize that. It’s easy for us to stand on principle because we’re not nearly as likely to end our careers because of it, and since I don’t think Mills has ever been a true, “shall not be infringed” kind of pro-Second Amendment type in the first place.
I mean, she’s a Democrat. We’re lucky she’s been as pro-gun as she has been.
But what Mills is proposing isn’t as bad as it could have been. That doesn’t mean, though, that any of it should pass.
The knee-jerk reaction to Lewiston was easy to predict, but that doesn’t make it right. Mills holding even this much ground is big, but there was never a reason to give into the hysteria. Yes, it was an awful tragedy, but it’s a reach to say gun control could have prevented it. As it was, the laws on the books meant to stop this failed to do so. New laws won’t change that.
I’ve often remarked that if no one is happy, it’s a good sign that you’ve found a decent compromise. In this case, our side isn’t happy because there are no grounds for compromise. Every “compromise” we’ve made in the past has been about giving up less than the other side wants and that’s been it. They never give up a damn thing, really. They just agree to kick the can down the road and demand it all again later.
So Mills may be trying here, but the anti-gunners aren’t likely to forgive her for not going whole hog on gun control and the pro-gun side is not going to forgive her for being willing to sell them out.
I’m just glad she’s not my governor.