Both the Maine Senate and, surprisingly to me, the Maine House recently passed a “constitutional carry” bill. Gov. LePage said he wouldn’t sign it because an amendment restricts permit-free concealed carry of a handgun to Maine residents 21 or older. (The amendment allows Mainers 18 and older to carry a concealed handgun only if they are active-duty service members or military veterans.)

A lot of people agree with that amendment, saying that 18-year-olds aren’t mature enough, and that federal law prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a handgun.

Seventy-one years and three days ago, tens of thousands of 18- to 21-year-old men were climbing down cargo nets draped over the sides of ships, getting into the landing craft that would bring them to within range of German machine guns and mortars whose gunners would do their best to cut every one of them down.

Those men couldn’t carry a handgun, or even vote at the time, because they weren’t considered mature enough.

Not only can 18- to 21-year-olds still be sent off by our country to fight and possibly be killed, but today, they also can vote. Eighteen-year-old men are required to register for the Selective Service – meaning that if the draft were reinstated, they could be required by law to enlist, fight and possibly be killed. But they can’t carry a handgun because they’re not mature enough.

I’m asking our state senators and representatives to think about the men and women wounded or killed for our country, to remove any restrictions on age from the bill and to send it to the governor for his signature.

Phil Smith