In Maine right now, dangerous people can fail a background check at a dealer, but then simply pick up the classifieds or go on the internet and choose from more than 3,000 unlicensed gun sales posted each year. This is an unconscionable situation, and one that Question 3 on November’s ballot corrects by simply extending the current background check system to sales that occur on the private market.

Unfortunately, state Rep. Patrick Corey’s recent op-ed about Question 3 makes a series of false claims that need correction.

Question 3 does not interfere with gun ownership by law-abiding citizens. It does not redefine the definition of a transfer. It does not prohibit the lending of firearms to friends, family members or hunting partners, and it certainly does not “infringe upon the rights of decent Maine people.”

Corey’s claim that Question 3 would outlaw classified ad gun sales is also false. Under Question 3, no sale is outlawed. It simply makes sure every gun sale gets the same background check, so a seller can make sure the firearm he or she relinquishes custody of is not going into the hands of a dangerous person.

Corey’s claim that background checks will not stop criminals from obtaining guns? Again: False.

In fact, since a similar law was enacted in Colorado in 2013, at least 962 sales to dangerous people in the state – including convicted felons and domestic abusers – by unlicensed sellers have been blocked. It is clear that background checks stop the easy acquisition of guns by criminals.

As a law enforcement officer, keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people is critically important to me. That’s why the Maine Chiefs of Police Association has endorsed Yes on 3, and we encourage Mainers to do the same in November.

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