There Is A Full Maine Legislature Approves Gov. Mills' Gun Safety Measure

There Is A Full Maine Legislature Approves Gov. Mills’ Gun Safety Measure

DEBARYLIFE – On the opening day of the 2024 parliamentary session, hundreds of supporters of gun reform gathered at the Maine State House.

Following the mass shooting in Lewiston on October 25, Gov. Janet Mills introduced a multipronged gun safety law, which the Maine Legislature has already passed.

The House voted in favor of the law on Monday by a vote of 73-66, mirroring the Senate’s 19-15 decision on Friday. Republicans did not vote in favor of the bill, while Democrats in the Senate were divided on it.

But those were only the first votes; the bill will require another vote in each chamber before it reaches Mills’ desk.

The other gun laws that the Senate passed on Friday, which amended Maine’s definition of a machine gun and imposed a 72-hour waiting time for some transactions, were not discussed by the House.

There Is A Full Maine Legislature Approves Gov. Mills' Gun Safety Measure (1)

The bill that was considered by the chamber, LD 2224, aims to enhance Maine’s yellow flag statute, which is the current system in place for taking away a person’s firearms temporarily if they pose a risk to themselves or others.

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Additionally, it would make it simpler to prosecute anyone who sells a gun to someone who is not authorized to possess one and mandate background checks for private sales of firearms.

Additionally, the law would improve data collection regarding violence-related fatalities and injuries to spot trends. In addition, the plan would create a network of crisis reception centers around the state, headquartered in Lewiston, to serve anyone in need of immediate medical attention.

Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland) stated, “Violence is not a simple problem.” He also stated that this law “represents meaningful progress without trampling on anyone’s rights,” even though there isn’t a single policy that can handle it entirely.

The state’s bloodiest mass shooting, which left eighteen people dead and thirteen injured in October of last year, devastated Rep. Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston), according to her hometown. She claimed that there are wounds that will never go away and that the effects of such brutality are something she sees every day.

Consequently, she stated that legislators “have the ability and the responsibility to take meaningful action” to aid in the averting of such catastrophes in the future.

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She described the law as “that meaningful action that we have before us.”

On the House floor, other supporters of the bill emphasized how it would fix a loophole in Maine’s background check statute by mandating checks for all sales that are advertised rather than demanding universal background checks, which Mainers narrowly rejected in a 2016 referendum.

According to Rep. Steve Moriarty (D-Cumberland), the law improves public safety and welfare even though it cannot ensure that mass shootings won’t occur in the future. Rep. Adam Lee (D-Auburn) discussed the validity of the proposal by reading passages from several federal and state Supreme Court rulings.

The Second Amendment’s rights should be upheld, according to Lee, but “they are not absolute.”

Rep. Donald Ardell (R-Monticello) described the bill as “a step toward tyranny,” but opponents see it as an infringement on that right.

The idea will just put more stress on law-abiding persons, according to Ardell, a former federal weapons licensee, because those who won’t submit to background checks don’t subject themselves to them.

The law about civil actions

A proposal that would have allowed someone to file a civil lawsuit against gun makers was narrowly rejected by the House and Senate on Monday, despite the House having previously supported the legislation. Members agreed with the Senate and withdrew their support by a vote of 71-69.

Fearing that gun manufacturers will leave the state and force Mainers out of jobs, Rep. Jennifer Poirier (R-Skowhegan) moved to join the Senate in opposing the bill.

Republicans and four Democrats abstained from voting for the bill.

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