Maine’s Constitution is quite clear on gun rights: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.” However, there are currently several gaps which need to be addressed, regarding background checks, firearm purchases, and guns on school campuses.
Currently, Maine does not require background checks for gun sales between private individuals, firearms owners to register their weapons, a limit on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, or regulation of unsafe handguns. In addition, in 2015, Maine repealed its requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun.
Maine should support and implement gun laws that foster responsible gun ownership in order to ensure community safety, without impeding on citizen’s rights based on the 2nd Amendment and Maine’s Constitution.
As Maine’s next governor, I will champion the following:
- Background checks: Maine should require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed parties. Although more than 90% of the American public supports background checks for all gun sales, a dangerous and deadly loophole exists, exempting unlicensed sellers from having to perform any background check before selling a firearm. Maine should follow Rhode Island and Connecticut by requiring all sellers to obtain a completed application form and to submit the form to law enforcement for purposes of conducting a background check.
- Firearm purchases regulation: Maine should regulate firearm sales by imposing a waiting period between sales and limiting the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time. Maine should pass legislation that prohibits anyone from purchasing more than one handgun within any 30-day period.
- School safety: Maine should support laws that prohibit guns on college and university campuses. Schools should be a safe haven from the violence, yet Maine lacks the proper legal protection against the presence of firearms on college and university campuses.
These recommendations are intended to make Maine safer while permitting recreational gun use, such as hunting, clay target shooting, and gun range shooting. Gun violence has no place in our communities, and guns have no place in our schools. The tragedies that took place at Sandy Hook and other schools across the U.S. demonstrate the devastating effect guns have on our communities. Laws that prohibit guns in schools and impose background checks and limits on sales help to keep our Maine communities safe. Public service requires that we place the needs of the public before ourselves, and that we place the safety of our children in public places before an individual’s right to own any weapon they choose without restriction.