Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Tom Bell email@example.com
AUGUSTA – A legislative panel tasked with considering more than 30 gun-control bills is killing most of the bills and focusing its work on five pieces of legislation.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is expected to finish its work this week and send the bills to the full Legislature.
One bill, L.D. 223, a compilation of several bills, is focused on the process of obtaining a concealed-weapon permit. It would make the process more efficient, create uniform training standards and bring Maine law in line with several other states so Maine permits would be recognized in those states.
Although the committee is trying to give the bill its unanimous endorsement, members on Monday were divided about whether to increase the minimum age for a concealed weapon permit from 18 to 21.
On Tuesday, the issue will be property rights versus Second Amendment rights as the committee takes up L.D. 265. The bill would repeal a law passed in the then-Republican-controlled Legislature two years ago that prevents a company from prohibiting workers from keeping a firearm in the employee's locked vehicle on company property. A number of major employers and business groups support the repeal, and gun rights advocates want to keep the law.
On Thursday, the committee will take up three bills. One, L.D. 660, would eliminate the need for Maine residents to get a permit for a concealed weapon. Gun rights activists and Republicans are pushing hard for the bill.
The committee will also vote on L.D. 1240, which would allow police to take away guns from people who have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital on an emergency basis.
It will also vote on L.D. 267, which would require a national instant criminal background check to purchase a gun at a gun show and in a private sale, with the exception of sales between family members.
Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at