Commentary

Bill to Protect Gun Owners in Subsidized Housing Wins Bipartisan Support in House

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Augusta – On a vote of 92-54, the legislation proposed by Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to protect the rights of gun owners in subsidized housing passed the Maine House of Representatives. Though there was opposition from some leading Democrats, many members of that caucus voted with Republicans to approve the legislation.

“Today the Legislature strengthened Mainers’ Second Amendment rights by asserting that someone should not be denied the right to own a firearm simply because of their economic situation. Subsidized housing is housing of last resort – people live there because they have little to no other choice, and they should not be forced to relinquish a Constitutional right because of that,” said Senator Cushing. “I am pleased that here in Maine we have wide support for the basic right to protect oneself.”

LD 1572, “An Act to Ensure Nondiscrimination Against Gun Owners in Subsidized Housing,” was introduced by Senator Cushing following a situation in Rockland where a tenant of subsidized housing was denied his Second Amendment rights after using a firearm to protect himself following a series of burglaries.

Harvey Lembo, a Rockland subsidized housing resident and former police constable, was robbed several times for his prescription medication so he bought a gun to protect himself. Wheelchair bound, Lembo heard a burglar one night and he confronted the criminal, made him sit on a coffee table, called 911, and when the intruder lunged off the table, Lembo shot him in the shoulder. As a result of this altercation, Lembo was informed he must surrender his gun or be evicted.

The measure must still be enacted in the Senate before heading to the Governor’s desk.

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