Politics

January 14, 2013

Poll finds support for guns – as well as limits – in Maine

Even in a state with a long hunting tradition and a fierce hold on its gun rights, most residents would opt for 'reasonable restrictions,' the newspaper's survey finds.

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

Today's poll: Gun control

Do you think the federal government is likely to pass more gun restrictions?

Yes

No

View Results

click image to enlarge

Thom Watson of Bath says Maine hunters might be willing to give up high-capacity magazines. "Nobody I know carries them," he said.

Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

20130111_GC_Guns
click image to enlarge

Sarah Russell poses Friday with her children, from left, Olivia, 9; Annie, 7; George, 3; and Charles, 5, in Cumberland. Russell supports hunting and gun ownership rights and allows hunting on her property, but she also believes in tighter restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

How Maine Answered:
Gun ownership rates, as well as attitudes about gun control, differ by region in Maine.
 
Question:
Do you have a gun in your home or anywhere else on your property such as a garage, storage shed or barn?
Explore the poll results
View all the poll results by clicking below.
Explore the poll results

Bill Diamond, a former lawmaker from Windham who last year stepped down after 18 years in the Legislature, said he doesn't recall any significant gun restrictions that were passed during his tenure.

This year might be different, he said, because the public wants lawmakers to take action in response to the Sandy Hook shootings. But they also want to protect the rights of Mainers to own guns, said Diamond, a Democrat who co-chaired the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee from 2005 to 2008.

Diamond said Mainers strongly believe that gun owners have rights, but at the same time they want gun owners to follow rules designed to protect the public. "They believe you can have those rules and still respect the rights of gun owners," he said.

Gun rights advocates in the past have successfully blocked proposed gun restrictions because many Mainers have guns and will vote only for candidates endorsed by gun rights groups, said George Smith, former executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine.

But the Sandy Hook shootings have changed the political climate, he said, and gun groups are now more willing to consider some new regulations as long as they are part of a comprehensive approach that includes other reforms, such as finding better ways to identify and treat mentally ill people who are violent.

"It's not just about guns," he said. "If all we do is that, we have failed."

Edith Frost, 69, of Oakland, said she has mixed feelings on the issue. She said her father, a farmer, hunted deer to feed his family. At the same time, she said, something needs to be done to stop mass shootings.

"There is a fine line, and I don't know where it is," she said. "On one hand, I don't want to stop people from hunting. It's not just a sport. Men hunt to put food on the table. On the other hand, you've got in Connecticut all those kids killed." 

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:

tbell@pressherald.com

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Charles Harrison, 73, seen Friday at his farm in Lyman, owns five guns and says there should be no government restrictions on gun ownership. "As far as regulations, what we have now is pretty good," Harrison says.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

  


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


Today's poll: Gun control

Do you think the federal government is likely to pass more gun restrictions?

Yes

No

View Results

Blogs

More PPH Blogs