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 has happened.
In fact, 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 State 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 — effectively adopting a policy known informally as Constitutional Carry.
While rates of violent crime increased nationally from 2015 to 2020, the rate of violent crime in Maine fell steadily beginning in 2015, after a slight increase from 2014 to 2015, according to data collected by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
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.
Is the old adage — an armed society is a polite society — proven true by Maine’s experience?
The correlation between decreased gun control and decreased crime doesn’t mean expanded exercise of Second Amendment rights is responsible for the decline.
But it does suggest that repealing the concealed carry permitting law in 2015 did not coincide with any increases in violent crime, as many anti-gun critics predicted.
Despite what the evidence shows about violence, crime, and firearms use in Maine, some state lawmakers are nonetheless planning a new push for gun control legislation.
According to reporting in the Bangor paper, State Rep. Vicki Doudera (D-Camden) is part of a group of Democratic lawmakers looking to advance gun control bills in response to several hoax threats made against Maine schools.
It’s not clear how new gun control laws would prevent hoax threats made online or over the phone.
During her first term in office, Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, typically shied away from supporting gun control measures popular with the far left.
However, her calculus may change now that she’s not navigating Augusta politics with a view toward re-election to the Blaine House.