June 18, 2013

Maine Senate approves weakened gun bill, disappointing advocates

One group is considering pushing for a statewide referendum to ask voters to mandate background checks for all gun sales.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

Under federal law, gun dealers now must do background checks on buyers, wherever they sell guns. Private sellers, such as those selling through Uncle Henry's, a Maine publication, don't have to do the checks.

Only three states, California, Connecticut and New York, require background checks before all gun sales, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But mandatory background checks have public support nationally and in Maine. In a poll of 403 Mainers conducted last month by Pan Atlantic SMS Group of Portland, nearly 90 percent of those surveyed supported background checks on buyers before they make private and gun-show purchases.

That, Franklin said, makes Monday's actions by the Senate "a slap in the face to the Maine public, which very clearly supports mandatory background checks."

If Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence does bring a citizens initiative in 2014 it will show whether or not Mainers prove their support at the ballot box.

"It's what this forces us to do," Franklin said of the Senate action Monday. "I think it'll be a slam dunk."

State House Bureau writer Michael Shepherd can be reached at 370-7652 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme 

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