February 10, 2013

Many sales of firearms in Maine fall under the radar

Private gun transactions require no background checks and little paperwork, and they are almost impossible to trace.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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But Trahan thinks the problem is few private sellers know that dealers will run the checks for them.

"No matter what happens in this debate, we are going to launch a significant education campaign to let people know this is available," Trahan said.

DELEGATION DIVIDED

Many polls taken after the Newtown shootings suggest that the universal background check is, by far, the most popular aspect of Obama's gun control agenda.

Between 85 and 91 percent of Americans support mandatory background checks on all gun sales, according to recent polls conducted by the Pew Research Group, Johns Hopkins University and Gallup. A recent CNN poll suggested that support drops to 75 percent when participants are asked about background checks for private sales, however.

Nonetheless, convincing members of Congress may not be as easy, as evidenced by Maine's tri-partisan representation on Capitol Hill.

The only delegation member to come out strongly in favor of universal checks is Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, independent Sen. Angus King and 2nd District Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud have all expressed reservations about how background checks could be applied to all private sales.

Nor is there universal support for a universal background check in Maine, even among dealers who recommend private sellers check their buyers.

"I wouldn't say I support it on all private sales," said Reid, the Auburn dealer who requires background checks for all sales at the gun shows he operates. But, he added, "it's a great conversation that we need to have. And it is past time that we do have it."

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@pressherald.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

 

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