Maine Democrats Plan to Pursue New Gun Control Laws

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Rep. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth)

A group of Democratic state lawmakers plans to pursue new gun control measures despite Democratic Gov. Janet Mills past refusal to support similar efforts, setting up a potential fight between the Party’s centrists and the far left.

The lawmakers, including Rep. Vicki Doudera (D-Camden) and Rep. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth), told the Bangor paper they will introduce legislation to restrict the capacity of magazines and institute a stronger background check mechanism.

Doudera told the paper that a series of hoax shooting threats targeting Maine schools justified the push for gun control.

There’s no evidence that the party responsible for making those threats even owns a firearm. It’s not clear how a gun control law would prevent the perpetrator from making these kinds of threats.

The lawmakers also pointed to the recent night club shooting in Colorado as a rationale for pushing more gun control in Maine.

Colorado already has a strict “red flag” law. That law could have prevented the shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, from acquiring or possessing a firearm had prosecutors invoked it a year and a half ago when he held his mother hostage with what he said was an explosive.

Colorado authorities haven’t said why the gun control law was not invoked in Aldrich’s case.

When Maine began allowing eligible residents to carry concealed firearms without a government license in 2015, gun control advocates warned that Wild West-style gun violence would erupt across the state.

Instead, the opposite happened.

Property crime and violent crime have fallen in Maine since the 2015 reform, according to crime data tracked by the FBI.

The reform, introduced by Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Auburn) and signed into law by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, ended a state-run gun control program that required individuals to obtain a permit before carrying a concealed firearm. The current policy is known informally as Constitutional Carry.

While rates of violent crime increased nationally from 2015 to 2020, the already low rate of violent crime in Maine has fallen steadily since the 2015 reform, according to FBI data.

Property crimes, such as robbery, larceny, and burglary, which had already been declining since 2012, continued to fall in line with the national trend. Property crime rates are now lower than at any time since 1985, when the FBI data begins.

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