Maine Democrats Advance Anti-Gun Bills

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Maine has always struck me as kind of odd. It's a very blue state in a blue region of the nation, yet they've been fairly pro-gun. Chalk it up to the rural nature of the state or the strong history of outdoor sports, it's a simple fact that gun control hasn't had a lot of success in the state, especially when the homicide rate for the entire state is usually less than that of my hometown in southwest Georgia.


But then Lewiston happened.

A massacre like that is going to rock anyone, but when you're likely already on the fence about gun control because the rest of your party is for it, it doesn't take much to knock you off of that fence.

As a result, anti-gun Democrats in the state have been fixated on passing gun control, much of which has nothing to do with Lewiston. They're just determined to pass it.

They've already managed to advance at least some of it.

Legislative Democrats on Wednesday advanced several gun control measures at the center of the response to Maine’s deadliest mass shooting on record, setting up a high-stakes set of floor votes in the coming weeks.

The Democratic proposals would implement 72-hour waiting periods, ban bump stocks, make mental health reforms and include a package from Gov. Janet Mills that proposes extending background checks to advertised gun sales and tweaking Maine’s “yellow flag” law.

The Judiciary Committee voted mostly along party lines Wednesday to advance all of those bills, with Rep. Adam Lee, D-Auburn, breaking with his party to back a different version of the waiting period bill. Last week, it also approved a suicide prevention-focused bill to explore creating a process for people to add themselves to a list prohibiting them from buying firearms.

The Democratic-led Legislature is moving the gun bills in the home stretch of a session scheduled to end by mid-April. The gun and mental health measures came after the Oct. 25 mass shooting at a Lewiston bowling alley and bar that left 18 dead and 13 injured. They generally cut against the Legislature’s long history of rejecting gun control measures.

Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, is sponsoring the waiting periods bill, and Sen. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, is proposing the bump stock ban that was tacked onto her bill to require the destruction of all firearms forfeited to police.

That late change as well as others won no quarter from Republicans on the committee. For example, Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn wondered how people exempt from the waiting period would prove it, while Rep. Rachel Henderson of Rumford said it is necessarily difficult to get court orders to take people’s weapons away under the yellow flag law.

“It should not be an easier process to take someone’s rights away than it is to restore them,” she said in opposing Mills’ measure.


Henderson makes a valid point here. This whole idea of making it easy to take people's rights away shouldn't sit well with us. It should bother us a great deal, really, because taking someone's right in one area just makes it easier for someone to take another's rights in another area.

Yeah, I know, I've said Mills' proposals weren't as bad as they could have been and I stand by that.

It doesn't mean her proposals are good, though. They're most definitely not.

What's more, there's not really any indication that Mills will veto anything that's not her proposals, which means folks in Maine might get that and all this other nonsense. That's a bigger problem than just the handful of things Mills herself is asking for.

In principle, there's little objectionable about improving mental health in the state and I get the strong desire to do something so there's not another Lewiston in the state. I don't agree with it, but I get it.

But there wasn't really a chance of another such shooting in the first place. They're rare and that one shooting had a body count on part with the state's total number of homicides in some years. It's not likely to be a thing again.

Unfortunately, anti-gunners are big believers in never letting a crisis go to waste.

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