AUGUSTA — The Maine House on Friday rejected a “stand your ground” bill backed by gun rights advocates who say it clarifies the right to use deadly force in self-defense.

The 78-57 vote to defeat the bill, which came after a short debate, fell largely along party lines, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it.

“This bill seeks to correct state statute, to get it in line with the protection of our natural rights, mainly to defend life and obtain safety,” said Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, the bill’s primary sponsor. He said the bill was necessary to protect Mainers if they faced danger outside of their homes.

The measure would have removed the requirement in state law that a person first try to retreat to safety before using deadly force in a confrontation outside of a person’s home.

Conservative lawmakers hoped to remove the requirement and replace it with a so-called “stand your ground” provision similar to those in 25 other states, including New Hampshire.

The bill is among about a dozen measures dealing with firearms and public safety introduced in this legislative session. The proposals include a “red flag” bill still awaiting floor debates that would allow police to confiscate firearms from an individual if they are deemed a safety risk to themselves or others by a health professional and a court.


“Mainers have constitutional protections that guarantee their right to meet force with force to defend their lives or the lives of others so that they can obtain safety,” Andrews said.

But opponents said the bill was largely unnecessary as state law already includes provisions for self-defense, especially when a person is in their own home or is not the initial aggressor in a confrontation.

Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, said there appeared to be some confusion around what was required.

“Maine’s law clearly recognizes a person’s right to self-defense and it does not include a duty to retreat in one’s own home and when one is not the initial aggressor,” she said. “This proposal is truly not needed because we already have it in Maine.”

The bill faces additional votes in the Senate.



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