April 23, 2013

Panel backs bill to restrict gun magazines to 10 rounds

But Republicans says the proposal will hurt Mainers who want to protect themselves.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA – A state senator broke a tied committee vote Tuesday by supporting a bill to limit gun magazines to 10 rounds in Maine.

Senate Democrat spokeswoman Ericka Dodge said Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford, voted for L.D. 997, proposed by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland. The bill would outlaw possession and transfer of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. It would exempt guns that are already owned, and would not apply to current and former law enforcement officers.

On Monday, the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 6-6 on the measure, with Dutremble absent from the State House. Under legislative rules, he had two business days to cast his vote.

The bill will go to the Legislature with a 7-6 "ought to pass" recommendation.

Republicans on the committee opposed Alfond's bill, and one Democrat, Rep. Timothy Marks of Pittston, voted with them.

"Since the recent spate of violence in our country, we can no longer put off making tough decisions," Alfond said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "And the committee was courageous in their support of a common-sense measure that takes one step toward saving lives."

In a statement Monday, House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, said Alfond's proposal would "hurt the ability of law-abiding Mainers to protect themselves."

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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