Maine Apparently Not Done Trying to Be Stupid on Guns

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Maine is something of an anomaly. While they're historically Democrat, as a state, they're also historically pro-gun.

Yes, some of that changed earlier this year in the aftermath of the Lewiston massacre, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. They didn't pass a lot of measures anti-gunners seem to think are essential, meaning they wanted to do something, but they weren't going to go full-on stupid regarding guns.


That's good.

Yet it seems another proposal is floating there that, should it go anywhere, marks the end of sanity.

Her death led to “Donna’s Law,” which allows people to put their own names on a “do-not-sell list” for firearms. Washington state had already adopted such a measure in 2018 before Nathan’s death, and Virginia and Utah later followed by passing similar laws.

Maine may join that group in adopting Donna’s Law, though not immediately. A bill from Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, came out last year and was amended this session into a 13-member task force that would study a process for Mainers to voluntarily waive their firearm rights.

The proposal received far less attention than the various gun control measures the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed after the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston, including a 72-hour waiting period bill. But supporters said it is a key suicide prevention tool in a rural state with fairly high gun ownership rates.

In Maine, 158 of the 178 firearm deaths in 2021 were suicides, per the latest data. Doudera said she introduced her bill after conversations with NAMI Maine and a woman’s death by suicide in September inside Holden’s Maine Military Supply.

“It’s such a preventable tragedy that has repercussions that ripple down through the generations,” Doudera said.


This is, without a doubt, the dumbest idea taking hold among anti-gunners.

Now, understand that I agree that suicide is a problem. Most of Maine's firearm fatalities are suicides, as are the number of so-called gun deaths nationwide. Addressing suicide is an important thing and I'm all for talking about ways to address it.

This ain't it.


First, if you can put yourself on a list, you can take yourself off of it. That means someone who has been in crisis may well remove themselves after any waiting period--seven days seems to be the norm--and then take their life. 

Plus, Maine doesn't really have universal background checks, even after this past legislative session. Someone can just go to a buddy--not a friend who knows they're in trouble, just some buddy they know--and buy a gun from them. So long as it's not been advertised, they don't have to conduct a background check under the state's new law.

On the flip side, if you remove the ability to remove yourself from the list, what happens when you're better but you feel your life might be in danger due to crime or even an explicit threat? What if you figure out that one of the ways to keep your mental health in balance is spending time in a deer stand or turkey blind, only you can't buy a gun of your own to take up hunting?


When you look at the three states with this law already, we don't see widespread use. Most people in crisis don't even know it's an option, for one thing. I suspect most who have made use of it aren't really a danger, they're just engaging in a little performative theater.

In short, Maine would be making a mistake to pass something like this instead of expanding mental health efforts even further.

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