Mills Mum on Maine Democrats' Anti-Gun Demands

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is an interesting case.

She's a Democrat and there's not really any doubt about that. Most of her policies fall neatly in line with her party's politics. The one place she seems to diverge is on guns. Yes, she's pushing gun control now, but it's really not as bad as a lot of her fellow Democrats wanted.


In fact, they're now asking for a lot, including a 72-hour waiting period on gun purchases.

So far, the governor hasn't really been tripping over herself to respond to these demands. In fact, she's been pretty quiet.

Gov. Janet Mills declined to take a position Wednesday on a set of new gun-control and mental health proposals from Democratic lawmakers that go farther than her policy response to the Lewiston mass shooting.

The three bills, which have the backing of most legislative Democrats, are highlighted by renewed attempts to require 72-hour waiting periods on gun purchases and ban bump stocks or other rapid-fire devices attached to semi-automatic weapons. 

Those proposals failed to pass the Democratic-controlled Legislature last year and during previous sessions. But Democratic leaders behind the latest measures said the Oct. 25 mass shooting at a Lewiston bowling alley and bar that left 18 dead and 13 injured has forced Mainers to consider ways to prevent more violence in the future. 


The governor “recognizes that there is a strong and diverse set of perspectives on both sides of the aisle about how we can improve public safety in Maine,” Mills spokesperson Ben Goodman said Wednesday after Democrats held a news conference to discuss the bills.

“She welcomes a robust, respectful and collaborative discussion about steps we can take to better protect Maine people, and she believes it is critical we take action,” Goodman said.

The thing is, Mills doesn't seem inclined to take those particular actions, and why would she?


Lewiston happened, and there are a lot of things we could do to address the fact that it did, especially since we know the killer was seriously mentally ill, but a 72-hour waiting period wouldn't have stopped him. He'd had these guns for far longer than that already, nor would it stop any other criminal or mass murderer.

None of this would prevent this, nor are Democrats really pretending it would. They just think they can get away with it now versus last year.

And here's the thing: I can't definitively say that Mills won't sign such a bill into law. She is a Democrat and she is inclined to at least take some steps with regard to legislation following Lewiston. She's not been bad on guns as governor, but that could change.

Yet if she doesn't, these measures are dead. 

While the Democrats control the legislature, they lack a veto-proof majority. There's no way Republicans in the state are going to roll over and vote for legislation they're vehemently opposed to after the governor vetoed it. It's just not going to happen.

So we'll have to wait and see precisely what happens in Maine, because it's going to be interesting, to say the least.

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