Maine Governor Signs Gun Control Bills

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Gov. Janet Mills of Maine isn't your typical Democratic governor. While most seem to favor heavy restrictions on people's right to keep and bear arms, Mills has been far more restrained in that regard.


Unfortunately, she's governor of Maine, which is where Lewiston happened. She was never going to get away with no gun control at all passing--not in a state that's so blue it's sad, even if they have historically been pro-gun.

She made her proposals while anti-gun forces in the state pushed for far more than she did.

Now, she's gotten to the point of signing bills, which she most definitely did.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Friday signed into law a suite of gun safety legislation approved by lawmakers after the deadliest mass shooting in state history, expanding background checks for private sales of weapons, bolstering the state’s “yellow flag” law, criminalizing the transfer of guns to prohibited people and expanding mental health crisis care.

The governor told lawmakers during her State of the State address that doing nothing was not an option after an Army reservist with an assault rifle killed 18 people and injured 13 others in Lewiston on Oct. 25.

The bills drew opposition from Republicans who accused Democrats, who control both legislative chambers, of using the tragedy to advance proposals, some of which had been previously defeated. Mills said Friday the proposals would improve public safety while respecting the state’s long traditions of gun ownership and outdoor heritage.

“This law represents important, meaningful progress, without trampling on anybody’s rights, and it will better protect public safety by implementing reasonable reforms and by significantly expanding mental health resources,” Mills said.


I don't personally approve of most of this--the improved crisis care for the mentally ill is a win regardless of any other factor, but that's it--but I also think this was about the bare minimum Mills could get away with passing in light of Lewiston.

Not if she didn't want to burn her bridges in Democratic politics.

Ideally, she would have, but that wasn't very realistic. She's a politician, not a pro-gun crusader despite her seeming resistance to other gun control measures.

But we should also recognize would really have stopped Lewiston from happening.

The state's yellow flag law was sufficient to have been used to disarm the killer, but it wasn't used. He already had his guns well before the killing. He'd even been admitted for his mental health issues.

None of this would have stopped that horrific evening from happening.

All this does is allow Democrats in the state to pretend they've accomplished something. It lets them pat themselves on the back, telling themselves and their anti-gun donors that yes, they did something.

And, truthfully, it may be decades before we find out that no, it didn't. That's because Maine is a pretty safe state and always has been. Lewiston's death toll outstripped the state's total homicide rate in some years. 


But they'll never acknowledge that. They'll never admit that they did nothing of substance.

Why would Maine's anti-gunners be any different than anti-gunners anywhere else in that regard?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member