House Voted to Pass LD 652 Despite Opposition from Maine Police Chiefs and Vast Majority of Mainers, Gun Owners
AUGUSTA, Maine – Everytown for Gun Safety and the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today condemned the State House’s approval of LD 652, a bill that will let people carry concealed, loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training. The House voted to approve the legislation, despite polling showing that 84 percent of Mainers – including 83 percent of NRA households – oppose the bill.
“LD 652 eliminates an important tool that law enforcement uses to prevent dangerous people from carrying concealed, loaded handguns in public,” said Chief Bob Schwartz (Ret.), Executive Director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association. “By passing this bill, the Maine legislature has put politics ahead of the public safety of Maine’s citizens, and the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.”
“As a concealed handgun permit holder I believe strongly in the right to bear arms, but I also believe just as strongly that we should not let violent criminals or people without any safety training carry hidden, loaded guns in public places. It’s troubling that our state’s politicians are putting gun lobby interests over public safety,” said Wayne Richardson, a gun owner whose daughter was shot and killed at age 25.
Under current law, Maine residents need to have a clean criminal record and basic gun safety training in order to obtain a concealed handgun permit. If LD 652 becomes law, though, these public safety protections will no longer exist, making it legal for certain violent criminals and people who have never handled a gun to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public. Maine would become one of only a small minority of states to allow people to carry concealed handguns in public without any permit whatsoever.
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Maine Moms Demand Action, which has more than 16,000 supporters in the state, previously released polling showing 84 percent of Maine voters believe people should be required to have a permit in order to carry a concealed handgun in public, as current law dictates.
The Ellsworth American and the Bangor Daily News have editorialized against LD 652, with the latter stating that, “Maine’s permit system works, although it could be quicker, and it is strongly supported by the state’s residents and law enforcement officials. It should not be tossed aside.”
House passage of the bill comes in spite of the fact that in early May, the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted 7-6 against LD 652, issuing a majority report recommending that the state legislature “ought not to pass” the legislation. The House adopted two amendments to the bill, which will now be sent to the Senate for concurrence.