Maine has now joined a handful of other states where no permit is required for concealed carry, raising cheers from gun rights activists across the country, but also raising concerns from at least one police chief.
When she discussed the new law taking effect today at the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, Maine activist Genie Jennings, a contributing writer to Women & Guns magazine, got cheers. She noted that it took years of work to get constitutional carry passed in Maine, but now it is reality.
On the other hand, the Portland Press Herald quotes the city’s police chief, Michael Sauschuck, who is “very concerned about the new law.” He thinks the new law will “put his officers, and the public, at risk,” the newspaper reported.
Retired police officer Dusty Rhodes of Winterport was interviewed by the Bangor Daily News. He reportedly liked the idea of requiring citizens to get “a background (and) a mental health check” and demonstrate proficiency. One retail gun shop employee, identified as Rick Lozier, is dismayed that the “handgun training” now consists of a basic gun safety brochure he is required to give to all new handgun purchasers, the newspaper said.
A poll in the Bangor newspaper shows lopsided support for the new law, sponsored by State Sen. Erik Brakey (R-Auburn). He told the Portland newspaper that “A criminal is not going to get a permit. He’s going to break the law. The same goes for gun-free zones. Criminals are not going to obey these zones.”
Maine’s change in the law comes at a time when an estimated 12.5 million people are now licensed to carry, and the number continues to climb, along with gun sales.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, last month’s “adjusted” National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,071,945 “is the highest September on record for the 17-year-old system, with an increase of 4.7 percent compared to the September 2014 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,024,272. For comparison, the unadjusted September 2015 NICS figure of 1,786,743 reflects a 23.4 percent increase from the unadjusted NICS figure 1,447,485 in September 2014.”
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