Maine Legislature Moves Forward on More Anti-Gun Measures

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Following the Lewiston shooting, there was a lot of pressure being leveled at lawmakers in Maine. While it's a very blue state on most issues, it's been remarkably resistant to gun control efforts over the years. The fact that it's a rural state with a long and storied outdoor tradition probably played a factor in that.


But Lewiston was one of those things that can change everything, especially in a state that's more likely to be open to Democratic anti-gun influence.

It seemed inevitable that Maine would pass at least some gun control, even if Gov. Janet Mills offered proposals that fell far short of what most anti-gunners in the state wanted.

And, sure enough, they passed some.

he Maine House of Representatives narrowly passed Tuesday proposals to ban bump stocks and require 72-hour waiting periods for firearm purchases, two of the numerous gun control bills introduced after the Lewiston mass shooting.

The House voted 73-72 to pass the bill from Sen. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, to ban bump stocks and other devices that let semi-automatic weapons fire like machine guns and then passed the waiting period bill from Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, in a 74-73 vote.

A follow-up engrossment vote on Carney’s bump stock measure featured a 74-72 margin, after Rep. Jane Pringle, D-Windham, missed the initial vote before supporting it. Three Democrats were absent Tuesday. The Senate narrowly advanced each bill last week.

Both bills need additional enactment votes before reaching Gov. Janet Mills. The Democratic-controlled Legislature is scheduled to adjourn Wednesday but may need extra time for final votes on an array of bills and an addition to the two-year budget.


So they have to get all of these votes done today, which I don't see how, especially if they're going to take up a number of other votes they've been talking about, including a red flag bill that would replace the state's current yellow flag law.

Of course, we also know that officials had sufficient grounds to use the yellow flag law in Lewiston and didn't for whatever reason. That is going to make it harder to sell a red flag law as a necessity to prevent another Lewiston from happening.

On this particular bills, though, I find it almost amusing that none of them address Lewiston in the least.

I can see how one might make the bump stock argument--if a potential killer got such a device, he might use it to devastating effect or whatever--but they're already banned at the federal level. While that is being challenged in the courts, it's also possible that the court's final ruling could render any such state law null and void.

Moreover, this guy had guns prior to the bump stock ban and there's no reason to believe he'd have turned in any that he might have had. In other words, it just seems like an excuse to do something they wanted to do before.

The same with the 72-hour waiting period. Again, the Lewiston killer already had his guns. A waiting period wouldn't have even been a speed bump for him.


Yet a waiting period may well prevent someone who has been threatened from being able to buy a firearm. They'd just want to protect themselves from the threat, but because they'd have to wait three days, it might be too late.

This follows last week's situation where lawmakers decided to ban "paramilitary training."

Mills has last week signed into law a proposal, LD 2130, that makes it a Class D crime to conduct "unauthorized paramilitary training" in the state. The bill had been sent to the Democrat governor's desk in a 20-14 vote by the state Senate and a narrow 72-71 roll call in the state House. While the law makes it a crime to gather and provide firearms or explosives instruction when " training or demonstrating is intended to be used by the other person in or in furtherance of civil disorder," the fuzzy language raised a flag with some as being too broad. 

"This bill could unintentionally impede well-intentioned groups from training," warned the Maine Sheriffs’ Association. "Groups like, private security firms, or American Legions who might want to train as a hobby could be affected by the broad nature of this bill."

Precisely. There are a lot of people who take classes that could be described as paramilitary simply because it's fun or interesting for them. There's no intention to be used for anything other than personal interest, but it's kind of hard to determine intent when you're simply training.


I also wonder if this will cover Antifa-affiliated groups and their alleged training when we all know they want civil disorder.

Regardless, none of these measures make Maine safer. They just lay the groundwork for more gun control down the road, regardless of whatever gets passed later today, if anything.

That's the wrong road to go down.

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