Several Democrats in the Maine Senate joined Republicans to reject a bill Friday that would have banned firearm modification devices, including bump stocks.

The House had approved L.D. 1340 in a 77-66 vote late Thursday, but the Senate’s 21-12 vote against it likely means the bill will not see passage.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Melanie Sachs, D-Freeport, sought to prohibit things like bump stocks and binary trigger systems, which have been outlawed in other Democratic-controlled states but face widespread opposition among Republicans.

Sen. Matt Harrington of Sanford, a 16-year law enforcement veteran, opposed the bill.

“It would mean seizing valuable property from law-abiding citizens without compensation,” he said, adding that the devices can be helpful for citizens with disabilities because they provide a lighter trigger pull.

Sen. Anne Carney, D-Cumberland, urged members to support the restriction as a means to support law enforcement officers who might have to face someone who is outfitted with a device that could make their firearm more lethal.


“Their job is hard enough; we don’t need to make it any harder,” she said.

Sen. Nicole Grohoski, D-Harrington, said she supported the bill after talking to her father, a military veteran.

“He felt strongly that untrained civilians should not have access to what can become essentially a military-grade weapon,” she said.

Many Democrats, however, including Senate President Troy Jackson, sided with Republicans.

Friday’s vote was yet another reminder of how challenging it is to pass gun restrictions in a state like Maine, which has a long history of hunting.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 24-11 against instituting a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases, effectively killing the legislation two days after it was narrowly rejected by the House.

The bipartisan vote comes after advocates intensified pressure for gun safety legislation, in part by citing a new poll showing that more than 72% of support from Mainers support reforms such as waiting periods and universal background checks.

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