Maine Senate kills bill to end concealed-weapon permits
One Republican votes with Democrats to block the measure, 21-14.
Written by Tom Bell, Staff Writer (Portland Press Herald)
The Senate on Wednesday voted down a bill that would have removed the permit requirement for carrying a concealed firearm. The 21-14 vote effectively kills L.D. 660, which the House defeated by a one-vote margin Tuesday. Only one Republican, Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, voted against the measure, joining all the Democrats and Dick Woodbury, an independent from Yarmouth.
Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, Senate chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said Maine has required a concealed-weapon permit for nearly a century, and that the law has proven to be effective. “I don’t see a problem, but now we want to create a problem and do away with the process,” he said.
But Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, a former state trooper, said the permit requirement never should have been established. He noted that Maine residents have sent lawmakers thousands of emails in support of the measure. Gun-rights activists say that requiring a permit to carry a concealed firearm infringes on their Second Amendment rights.
Maine law now allows people to carry firearms without a permit as long as the weapon is visible. To carry a concealed weapon, however, residents must apply for a concealed-weapon permit from local or state authorities.
Applicants must show they have “good moral character” and answer more than 30 questions, most of which relate to their adult and juvenile criminal history and whether they have a mental disorder or drug habit.
Since 2003, four states -- Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and Vermont – have passed similar measures, known as “constitutional carry.” The Arkansas Legislature recently passed a similar bill. That measure will become law in July.