Politics

December 22, 2012

Maine lawmakers cool to guns for teachers

The bill proposed by a Hampden Republican will get an airing despite Democrats' reservations.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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A hearse carrying the casket of of six-year-old Jack Pinto passes a makeshift memorial on its way to Newtown Village Cemetery in Newtown, Connecticut. Legislative leaders are reacting coolly to a bill – proposed after the Connecticut shooting – that would allow concealed-weapons permit holders, including teachers and school administrators, to bring guns to public schools in Maine.

Reuters

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"Day-cares are different," from schools, he said. "We have security systems in place."

He said, "Our biggest threat is a deranged parent in a custody battle."

Duprey said the proposal to put an armed police officer in every school is "impractical and fiscally irresponsible."

It's doubtful that Duprey's bill will make it through the Democratic-led Legislature. Republican-led legislatures in other states have rejected similar proposals.

In the last session, Republican leaders rejected a bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses.

Fredette, the House Republican leader, said he recently got a phone call from someone who works in a school and thinks it would be appropriate to allow concealed-weapons permit holders to bring guns to school.

"I'm not saying that I support that kind of proposal," he said, "and I'm not saying that I don't."

McCabe, the assistant House Democratic leader, said he, too, had been contacted by at least two constituents who support arming educators.

McCabe said Democrats are wary of diving into "polarizing proposals" like Duprey's.

"We're really trying to look at this issue in a thoughtful way," he said. "If we get into these extreme proposals, we end up alienating people on both sides of the issue, and that's not helpful."

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, co-chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee, which will review Duprey's bill, said the proposal will get a fair hearing.

However, Gerzofsky said, "Wyatt Earp thought it was OK to have guns in town, but I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to have guns in churches and schools."

Gerzofsky said the Legislature passed bills to make schools gun-free zones after the shootings in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado.

"I understand the argument that giving guns to people is supposed to be a defense against the bad guys," he said. "But once they've got the drop on you, it doesn't matter how many guns you have in your pocket."

Adrienne Bennett, spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage, said the administration is reluctant to comment on a bill that has not gone through the legislative process.

McCabe noted that Duprey has a history of introducing controversial bills.

In 2005, Duprey submitted a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage. However, he opposes same-sex marriage, and later acknowledged that he submitted the bill so he could vote against it.

In the same session, Duprey submitted a bill to ban abortion if it could be determined that the fetus was homosexual.

Both proposals drew attention from the satirical program "The Daily Show," which filmed a segment at the State House mocking Duprey.

 

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

twitter/stevemistler

 

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