Home Health Maine’s mass capturing has renewed requires stricter gun legal guidelines : NPR

Maine’s mass capturing has renewed requires stricter gun legal guidelines : NPR

Maine’s mass capturing has renewed requires stricter gun legal guidelines : NPR


Traditionally, efforts to tighten gun legal guidelines in Maine have been ignored by lawmakers. However after a mass capturing final 12 months left 18 individuals useless, activists say renewed requires reform now have higher traction.


Gun security activists haven’t had a lot luck within the Maine legislature. Lawmakers there have crafted among the most permissive gun legal guidelines within the nation. However final 12 months, Maine noticed the deadliest mass capturing within the state’s historical past, and advocates for stricter gun legal guidelines now say their numbers are rising. Steve Mistler from Maine Public has the story.

STEVE MISTLER, BYLINE: Tragedy just lately introduced Arthur Bernard to Maine’s gun security motion, but he already is aware of his trigger would possibly outlast him.

ARTHUR BERNARD: However I do know that I might in all probability spend the remainder of my life looking for the suitable people who find themselves going to do the suitable factor.

MISTLER: Bernard’s son, Arthur Strout, was one of many 18 individuals killed in Lewiston when a gunman opened hearth at a restaurant and bowling alley in October. Strout’s likeness is emblazoned on the sweatshirt his father wore as he spoke to a jam-packed crowd of activists on the Maine statehouse.

BERNARD: That is about discovering the suitable politicians who’re prepared to do the suitable factor greater than they’re afraid of shedding their jobs.

MISTLER: Previously, calls to tighten gun legal guidelines have been ignored by Maine lawmakers, who’ve traditionally given deference to the Second Modification in a state wealthy in looking custom and gun possession. And the yawning divide within the gun debate was in full view as Bernard spoke. Gun proper activists took positions within the rally in order that their message was captured by the cameras. Making good individuals helpless is not going to make dangerous individuals innocent, one gun rights signal mentioned. Here is Laura Whitcomb, president of Gun Homeowners of Maine.

LAURA WHITCOMB: All the issues that they are proposing will solely take firearms out of the fingers of the law-abiding.

MISTLER: The Gun Homeowners of Maine’s insurance policies will not be extensively embraced by lawmakers, however it was beforehand profitable in its push to make it simpler to hold hid weapons. That change is a part of a pattern in Maine. Thirty-five years in the past, voters eliminated a phrase from the state structure to ensure gun possession is a person proper, not only for the frequent protection. And simply seven years in the past, they narrowly defeated a referendum to broaden background checks. Conventional gun management points have sputtered, regardless that Democrats at present management the statehouse and the governor’s workplace. However Home Democratic chief Consultant Maureen Terry says the Lewiston bloodbath has prompted extra pressing requires reform.

MAUREEN TERRY: You already know, it is unlucky that one thing horrible has needed to have occurred to ensure that us to maneuver the needle in any respect, however I do suppose that the window is right here.

MISTLER: Terry wouldn’t get into specifics, however one proposal might heart on overhauling Maine’s so-called yellow flag legislation in order that it is simpler to confiscate an individual’s weapons if a choose finds that there are hurt to others or themselves. David Trahan performed a key function in writing Maine’s present legislation. He leads the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a bunch that assigns grade scores to politicians which can be extremely coveted – or, in some instances, feared – by each events. For the reason that Lewiston capturing, Trahan has argued Maine’s present yellow flag legislation wasn’t used to take the gunman’s weapons, regardless of repeated warnings about his psychological well being.

DAVID TRAHAN: He by no means ought to have had a gun to conduct this. That is the place the place our system failed, and that is the place our group will put our very vital affect within the coming months.

MISTLER: In the meantime, Alisa Conroy Morton, a pacesetter for Maine Mothers Demand Motion, says the latest present of pressure by activists is supposed to reassure previous legislative allies and embolden new ones

ALISA CONROY MORTON: In order that their legislators know that they’ve the assist and the drive from the neighborhood asking for significant change.

MISTLER: However in Maine, getting the significant change they’re searching for would require a giant shift in a long-standing political dynamic. For NPR Information, I am Steve Mistler in Augusta, Maine.


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