Maine Democrats Fail To Override Veto On AWB Measure

by Vern Evans

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An effort by anti-gun lawmakers to overturn Maine Gov. Janet Mills’ veto of the state’s “assault weapon” ban legislation has failed.

On Friday, the state Senate voted 18-16 to overturn the governor’s veto of LD 2086. However, that vote fell far short of the two-thirds needed to overturn the veto.

While referred to as a “bump stock ban” by supporters in the legislature, the measure actually would have gone far beyond banning those devices. The legislation would actually have created a backdoor ban on commonly owned firearms and firearm parts by redefining a “machine gun” to include any semi-automatic firearm that includes parts that could “increase the rate of fire.”

Not a staunch gun-rights supporter, Gov. Mills nevertheless realized that the measure’s poorly written language might have had devastating effects on lawful Maine gun owners, hence the veto. Mills said she agreed that semi-automatic firearms converted into the functional equivalent of a machine gun should be restricted, but said she was concerned that certain language in the bill could have a “risk for unintended consequences.”

“Such legislation should only be developed in a deliberate, inclusive and clear manner for both gun safety advocates and those concerned with protecting lawful access to firearms,” Mills said in the veto message.

While originally faced with a number of anti-gun measures likely due to last fall’s mass murder in Lewiston, Maine gun owners have managed to fend off most of the efforts. Not all of them, though.

The governor allowed a measure requiring a three-day waiting period before gun purchasers who have already passed the federal background check can have a new gun transferred to them. She also signed bills making it easier to confiscate firearms without due process, requiring background checks for private sales through online means and strengthening a law that forbids “reckless” sale of a gun to a prohibited person.

Prior to the override vote for the AWB measure and several others, Republican Rep. Mike Soboleski was hopeful the vetoes would be sustained.

“We fought hard on all of these, we fought very hard,” Rep. Mike Soboleski told WMTV. “This is our day to get a little bit back, and we’ll sustain them all.”

Proponents of the measure, however, were disheartened by the failed override vote.

“I’m really disappointed it was vetoed,” said Sen. Anne Carney, who sponsored several pieces of anti-gun legislation this session. “I think it’s a big issue of public safety.”

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