Maine battle over background checks splits police chiefs, sheriffs

Maine battle over background checks splits police chiefs, sheriffs

Screen snip of hancock County sheriff's letter opposing Maine gun control initiative. (Source; Facebook)
Screen snip of hancock County sheriff's letter opposing Maine gun control initiative. (Source; Facebook)
Screen snip of hancock County sheriff’s letter opposing Maine gun control initiative. (Source; Facebook)

The battle over background checks in Maine is heating up as it now appears county sheriffs are lining up against municipal police chiefs, with a majority of sheriffs opposing a November ballot measure while the city top cops support it.

The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel reported last month that the Maine Police Chiefs Association endorsed a Michael Bloomberg-backed initiative for so-called “universal background checks.” Backers of the measure, which is similar to one passed in Washington two years ago and an initiative on the ballot also in Nevada, have been spending lots of money to push their anti-gun agenda.

But on Tuesday, according to a letter posted online by Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane, a dozen county sheriffs (out of a total of 16) are opposed to Question 3. They call it a measure that “will do nothing to stop evil people from getting their hands on guns.”

“In fact,” the letter states, “all relevant data indicates that criminals acquire firearms through theft and the black market. This initiative will not stop the reoccurring pattern.”

On the other side, South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins told reporters last month that Question 3 is “a common-sense proposal that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”

But out in Washington State, there is no evidence that passage of Initiative 594 two years ago has prevented a single violent crime or kept guns out of the wrong hands. The recent mass shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, about 65 miles north of Seattle, is a prime example. The accused shooter in that case reportedly stole the gun he used from his step-father.

Meanwhile, as noted by Guns.com, all but one county sheriff in Nevada is opposed to Question 1 on the Silver State ballot next month. Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety also backs that ballot measure. The anti-gun Nevadans for Background Checks, which is backing Question 1, is supported by the Las Vegas lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, Guns.com said.

This year in Washington, another Bloomberg-backed measure is on the ballot, this one dealing with “emergency protection orders.” Initiative 1491 supporters have raised more than $3 million for their campaign, while there does not appear to be any organized opposition. However, gun owners and mental health activists have expressed concerns over due process.

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