“Red-Flag” Bill On The Move In Maine

by Vern Evans

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We’ve told you how lawful gun owners in Maine are under a relentless attack by gun-ban advocates who are using a mass murder in Lewiston last fall to push forward a number of infringements.

The latest such measure is “red-flag” law legislation slated for a public hearing on Friday in Augusta before the Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary. The bill, LD 2283, expands the government’s power to disarm citizens without due process based very weak standards.

This session of the Maine legislature is actually an extension of last fall’s session. And by state law, new bills are not supposed to be introduced or considered.

However, Democrats managed to get the measure introduced and a hearing scheduled. This drew the ire of pro-gun lawmakers, including Republican state Sen. Matt Harrington.

“I think it’s absolutely absurd that on March 28 we’re referencing major substantive public policy to committee in which a ‘public hearing’ is going to be held with little or no notice to the public,” Harrington said during debate of the measure. “And anyone in this chamber who thinks this is an appropriate way to govern should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.”

When Sen. Anne Carney then said that the public would be given plenty of notice for the hearing, Harrington questioned her response.

“I would just be curious to know how much notice the public is going to get on this before a public hearing,” Harrington said.

Carney’s reply didn’t remotely answer the question. “We have endeavored to have ASL interpreters present for bills related to firearms, and I do not know their availability,” she said. “And so, the scheduling depends to some extent on that.”

In reality, Maine’s “yellow flag” law currently in effect provided everything needed to stop the Lewiston shooter, as he had been reported to authorities many times by several individuals leading up to the tragedy. The fact that he wasn’t stopped wasn’t the fault of the current law, but the fault of politicians who refuse to fund police enough for such purposes.

“We’re finding that the issue isn’t necessarily with the way our current law is written, but rather with the ability of law enforcement to enforce it, which is not a gun issue, that’s a funding issue,” Laura Whitcomb, head of Gun Owners of Maine, said in a late February interview about the proposal. “So, if these lawmakers need to go back through and look at their budget and appropriately fund the judiciary in Maine—law enforcement in Maine—then that’s fine because the state isn’t funding our law enforcement appropriately, which we would, of course, be 100% in favor of doing.”

Gun Owners of Maine is providing detailed instructions on how to submit testimony for the public hearing in an attempt to head off passage of the measure. Click here to learn more.

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