The campaigns battling over the gun background checks measure on the November ballot have received nearly $4 million from out-of-state organizations hoping to sway voters on the contentious issue.

But hundreds of Maine individuals, businesses and sporting clubs have also funneled more than $250,000 into the Question 3 campaigns so far this year, according to finance reports.

Horror author Stephen King, for instance, donated $25,000 and conservationist Roxanne Quimby donated more than $1,800 in support of Question 3, which is seeking to require criminal background checks on private gun sales as well as on gun loans or transfers between individuals.

On the other side, rod and gun clubs from Falmouth to Princeton have donated thousands to stop a proposal that they contend will primarily affect law-abiding citizens – especially sportsmen – without hindering criminals already intent on breaking the law.

The campaign in support of Question 3 has received, by far, more individual contributions, with a total of more than $230,000. Some of the more prominent names on the list include: King ($25,000), Quimby ($1,812), Portland Sen. Justin Alfond ($250), former U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby ($500), former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler ($500) and former U.S. Rep. Tom Allen ($500).

“We have received contributions ranging from just a few dollars . . . to thousands of dollars from individuals in Maine,” said David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership, the campaign behind Question 3. “Last time I checked, we had close to 1,000 donations from here in Maine, and we are proud of that grassroots support.”

The campaign to defeat Question 3 has been led by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Gun Owners of Maine and the National Rifle Association.

Individuals have contributed more than $36,500 to the campaign, roughly half of which came from donors who made contributions of less than $50. Among the notable names on the donor sheet against Question 3 are Suzanne Grover of Grover Gundrilling in Oxford County ($2,500), former congressman and current legislative candidate David Emery ($100) and former congressional candidate Ande Smith ($100).

Not surprisingly, sporting clubs and sportsman’s organizations have contributed a substantial sum to the campaign so far as well.

The opposition campaign has received donations from Big Pine Gun Club in Guilford ($300) Bucks Mills Rod & Gun Club in Bucksport ($54), Durham Rod & Gun Club ($1,000), Falmouth Rod & Gun Club ($2,000), the Maine Bowhunters Association ($500) and the Maine Professional Guides Association ($5,000).

Maine voters will be asked to weigh in on five ballot initiatives plus one bond proposal this November – a record for the state. And because the ballot measures deal with major policy issues, spending on the ballot initiatives is on track to break all records for Maine, with nearly $10 million pouring into the ballot campaigns as of the end of September.

Question 3 has generated the most financial activity so far, with the balance heavily weighted toward the proponents.

Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership had received more than $3.2 million in cash or in-kind donations from Everytown for Gun Safety and from Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.

Everytown was created by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg while Americans for Responsible Solutions was formed by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona – a gun violence survivor – and her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, had pumped more than $425,000 into the opposing campaign on Question 3 as of the end of September and has since purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in television airtime for commercials.

 


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