WESTBROOK — Do what is good because it is right, then figure out how to manage the cost.

The above is a paraphrase of something I recently read that has provided me a great guidepost when thinking about any issues that come along.

Here is how I’ve applied it to L.D. 652, “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit.” Amended to allow service members over the age of 18 to carry concealed guns, the bill has passed the Legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. LePage.

Even though L.D. 652 is on its way to becoming law, I believe it is still worthwhile and important to take a stand regarding this issue – in the broader sense of gun regulation in Maine.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. Clearly implicit in the that amendment was the right to bear arms for protection and defense, not for offense, gain or retribution.

With a right comes responsibility. Gun regulation is a safeguard that helps ensure that responsibility.


Rights and sensible requirements and responsibilities are inherently intertwined. Just look at a few of the rights that we have and the responsibilities that come with them.

The right to drive a car comes with the requirements to learn the rules of the road, to have supervised practice in driving, to pass both written and driving exams and the responsibility to follow the rules of the road.

The right to be a practitioner of medicine comes with the requirements to master educational content, to pass exams on that content, to do an internship and then in practice to follow responsibly the primary rule of first, do no harm.

When my two sons were in high school, they asked if they and their buddies could go to Boston to skateboard. I remembered that when I was an adolescent, I had to earn my right to further freedom by meeting my mom’s requirements and demonstrating responsibility – so I asked the same of them.

The requirements that I set with them were to agree on where they would park outside the city, to call me when they were at the parking spot, to stay together and to call me when they were back at the car and heading home. I can say proudly that they were responsible and earned that freedom.

I believe that those who expect or demand rights without meeting sensible requirements may be stuck in adolescence.


So back to the matter of “What is good because it is right?” regarding gun laws in Maine.

Guns can end lives.

 Should there be consistent age requirements for private citizens who carry guns – openly or concealed?

 Should there be safety training for people who carry guns – openly or concealed?

 Should there be a background check for people carrying concealed guns?

Do you feel differently or the same about people carrying guns openly versus people carrying concealed guns?


At the public hearing on L.D. 652, the Maine State Police came out in support of the bill because, according to Maj. Chris Grotton, the current concealed weapons permitting system is flawed and ineffective.

“Maine needs to either fix the system, which is not inexpensive, or to rethink the policy. This bill takes that second tack,” he told the Bangor Daily News.

How does that position align with “Do what is good because it is right, then figure out how to manage the costs?”

Here is my voice:

L.D. 652 allows those we send to defend our country at 18 years of age to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

My heart aches with the impact and trauma that those who serve so young may bear many years after their service.


I know men who served in Vietnam and still live daily with post-traumatic stress disorder and a life of hardship and pain, including grave depression.

As they struggle to adjust and to cope, I think we do them no favor by giving them easier access to guns.

And there is no good I can see in having anyone carry concealed guns without permits, training, background checks and minimum age requirements.

Open carry provides some checks and balances, in that anyone in the vicinity of open carry is aware and can make choices – for example, to move away from the area. But having more people carrying concealed guns is not good for families, communities, states, countries or the human race.

If you think about your friends, family or grandkids landing in the crossfire of more people with guns, where do you stand on what is good regarding the concealed carrying of guns? Make no mistake – not one of us can guarantee immunity for our loved ones.

Whatever your opinion is, say it out loud – in writing to your legislators or a local paper, in conversations with your friends and families. That is your right. If you want to be heard, that is your responsibility.

I hope you will just do that today in whatever way suits you.

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