A full day of public hearings on gun legislation at the State House Friday.
The wide range of bills include one that would prohibit the creation of a gun registry and another that would require gun locks with every sale of a firearm.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard passionate testimony from those in support and opposition of several recently proposed bills.
“Article 1, Section 16 in the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees our rights to own firearms. And keeping a database on people that own those firearms only serves one purpose – to confiscate those firearms eventually,” said David Trahan, Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Many spoke in favor of proposed legislation that would prohibit the creation of a gun registry, but others say while they support the Second Amendment, they believe guns should me regulated more.
“I’m very concerned about what I’m hearing here because when I read the Second Amendment, it seems that the first part of it is always left off. I will quote, ‘a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” said Debra Smith of New Glouchester.
Another controversial bill would lower the age requirement for a concealed handgun. At the age of 18, every law abiding Maine citizen has the legal right to carry a handgun under the state’s open-carry law.
“But they are still required to posses a permit to wear a jacket while carrying a firearm until you’re 21,” said Sen. Brakey (R).
Senator Eric Brakey’s bill would allow 18 year olds to carry a handgun while wearing a jacket.
“That’s something that I see as not controversial. In fact, New Hampshire recently passed permit-less carry in their state that was signed by the governor that has that same provision in it,” said John Hohenwater, Maine State Liaison, National Rifle Association.
“The fact is that people ages 18-20 commit a disproportionate number of homicides, four times higher than adults 21 and older. How can any legislator knowing that fact in good conscience support this bill?” asked Richardson.
Judy Richardson’s daughter was shot in her sleep during a home invasion in Portland in 2010. She opposes Brakey’s legislation.
Other proposed bills include one that would allow municipalities to ban guns at voting booths and a bill that aims to improve firearm safety by requiring proof of safety training before purchasing a gun.
“The more that we focus on them being safe, the less incidents we’ll be talking about where people will be coming to try to take them away from folks because they feel they can’t handle them,” said Se. David Miramant, (D) sponsor of the bill to improve firearm safety.
There were nearly a dozen bills talked about Friday that will now move on to work sessions with the legislative committee.