January 16, 2013

Mainers split over Obama's gun proposals

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Craig Daigle, who owns C&R Trading Post in Brunswick, said he doesn't favor additional restrictions. "There are plenty of laws already on the books that need to be enforced," he said.

Gun sales have increased since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Dealers in Maine said the types of guns and high-capacity magazines that could be banned have mostly sold out in recent weeks, showing that consumers are keeping a close eye on possible restrictions.

Jeff Ward of the York County Trading Co. in Sanford said most of the president's executive orders seem reasonable, but he doesn't think further restrictions on gun sales would make a difference.

"There is no real downside to more background checks, I suppose, but the rest is politicians feeling like they need to do something because there is a problem," Ward said.

Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, said some of the measures are easy to support, like more background checks and better sharing of information.

He said it is tougher to build support for gun restrictions, and he's not convinced that they work. Bad people will still get guns, he said.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said every possible solution comes with a "but."

"It's good to gather information and see what makes sense to do, but there is no easy answer," he said.

Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, Senate chair of the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said he supports the president's proposal but suspects there will be a fight.

He said many of the proposals outlined by Obama could be debated by the Legislature in this session.

"We don't want a knee-jerk reaction on either side," he said. "There will be time to debate these things."

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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