Senate Votes Narrowly to Pass LD 652 Despite Opposition from Maine Police Chiefs and Vast Majority of Mainers, Gun Owners
Maine Moms, Police Chiefs Urge House to Oppose Dangerous Legislation To Scrap Permits, Safety Training for Concealed Handguns
AUGUSTA, Maine – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today condemned the State Senate’s approval of LD 652, a bill that would let people carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training. The Senate voted narrowly today to approve the legislation, despite polling showing that 84 percent of Mainers – including 83 percent of NRA households – oppose the bill.
“I am deeply disappointed that some of our elected leaders decided to put politics above public safety,” said Chief Bob Schwartz (Ret.), Executive Director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association. “LD 652 would get rid of an important tool that law enforcement uses to prevent dangerous people from carrying a concealed, loaded handgun in public. We urge the House to oppose this dangerous bill.”
“As a concealed handgun permit holder, I believe strongly in the right to have a firearm to protect yourself and your family — and 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,” said Wayne Richardson, a gun owner whose daughter Darien was shot and killed at age 25.
To get a concealed handgun permit in Maine, you need to have a clean criminal record and basic gun safety training. LD 652 would eliminate these public safety protections, making it legal for some violent criminals and people who have never handled a gun to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public. If the bill becomes law, 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.”
Earlier this month, the Joint Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety voted 7-6 opposing LD 652, issuing a majority report recommending that the state legislature “ought not to pass” the legislation. The bill now heads to the House.