Anti-Gun Barrage Ramps Up in Maine Legislature

by Tommy Grant

We reported earlier about efforts in Maine to pass a number of anti-gun measures basically punishing lawful gun owners for last October’s mass murder in Lewiston, Maine, where 18 people were killed and another 13 injured.

Since that earlier report, things have continued to heat up in the Pine Tree State. And all of the pressure is being put on lawful gun owners, not criminals, according to Gus Norcross, Firearms News gunsmith editor and Maine resident.

“The fallout from the Lewiston shooting has been very detrimental to law-abiding gun owners in Maine, and the anti-gun organizations are using it for leverage to pass proposals that would normally not have a chance of passing,” Norcross said. “I’m the mailing address for the state rifle and pistol association, which is the state organization governing NRA-approved competitions. We have received hate mail and phone calls simply for being affiliated with NRA. Maine, which boasts the lowest violent crime numbers in the country, is definitely losing ground as a pro-gun state, post Lewiston.”

The latest assault on gun rights in Maine has come from Democrat Gov. Janet Mills, who recently announced several anti-gun proposals. And according to Laura Whitcomb, president of Gun Owners of Maine, the measures would be detrimental to the lawful gun owners her group represents.


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One piece of legislation sounds fairly innocuous based on the title, but also has negative ramifications. LD 2119 is called the “Act to Support Suicide Prevention by Allowing the Voluntary Waiver of Firearms Rights.”

“We find it to be problematic because there’s nothing saying that somebody’s not going to be coerced into giving up that right,” Whitcomb said. “And then once that right is given up under this legislation, there’s no path to get it back. So, if you find yourself to be in a rough spot, say when you’re 25, when you’re 30, 35, 40 you might seek to regain those rights after you voluntarily forfeited them and there’s no path to do that.”

Another bill, LD 2086, also sounds pretty harmless. The original bill would amend the law governing the disposition of forfeited firearms, but a poison-pill amendment has completely changed what the measure would do. 


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“So, we’re dealing with firearms that have been forfeited, firearms that have been seized, as a result of a crime,” Whitcomb said. “Then we found out yesterday that they are actually putting forth an amendment to that bill that would seek to re-define what a machine gun is in Maine.

“So, you have on the face of it, something that’s supposed to be dealing with forfeited firearms.  And then they have this amendment that they’re proposing that would seek to change the definition of a machine gun. Basically, binary triggers would be illegal, and they’re trying to define a semi-automatic rifle would be the same thing as a machine gun if its capabilities are ‘similar to a machine gun.’ That word ‘similar’ might mean something different to you than it does to me.”

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Yet another measure seeks to greatly expand background checks for firearms sales in the state.

“Gov. Mills seems to think, based on her address and her statements, that you can buy firearms on Facebook marketplace, which you cannot,” Whitcomb said. “So, what she’s trying to do is make it so that if you put forth any type of electronic ad or use Craigslist, you would have to seek a background check in order to transfer that firearm to another person.”

Incidentally, this session of the legislature is an extension of last year’s session and is supposed to only be held to consider legislation previously proposed, not new bills.

“I know that in the house yesterday they had a pretty good debate about whether or not it (the background check measure) should actually be heard because we are in the second part of our legislative session,” Whitcomb said. “It failed last year during the first part of the biennium. So, technically it really shouldn’t be coming back up this session.”

Nevertheless, the measure was referred out of committee. Public hearings for some of the anti-gun measures will be held next week. 

We will post a follow up article when new information becomes available.

About the Author 

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years. 


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