AUGUSTA – A marathon day of public hearings to consider a far reaching group of new laws that affect the rights of gun owners has been scheduled for May 10th, 2019 in Augusta. On that day, ten different bills will have public hearings before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
Here is a rundown of the bills that will be considered:
L.D. 379 sponsored by Rep. Victoria Doudera (D – Camden) would create a new Class E crime for a gun owner if a person under 16 years of age gains access to their firearm and uses it in a reckless or dangerous manner. The proposal adds requirements on gun owners for securing their firearms, and requires all firearm dealers to post a warning about the law at their counter.
L.D. 516 sponsored by Rep. Heidi Brooks (D –
Lewiston) would establish a statewide voluntary firearm collection day and
establish a permanent ongoing program. Among other things, local and county law
enforcement agencies would be required to report to the state how many guns
they have collected. The bill also would require every Maine State Police
location in the state that is open to the public to become a year-round firearm
L.D. 747 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Cardone (D
– Bangor) creates new civil violations and fines for some individuals who
transfer a firearm to a person who is forbidden to possess one. It also raises
the fines on an individual who gives a false or incorrect name to a firearms
dealer. That fine is currently $50, under the bill, the fine would be $1,000
L.D. 810 sponsored by Sen. David Miramant (D –
Knox) appears to be a rehashed version of the 2016 referendum that was defeated
in Maine that would have required all transfers of firearms to be approved
through a background check. This bill makes the first offense a Class D Crime,
the second offense is a Class C Crime. The bill exempts family members transferring
firearms to one another and has a few other exemptions for temporary transfers.
L.D. 869 sponsored by Rep. Matthea Daughtry
(D – Brunswick) is titled “An Act Regarding Gun Control” but does not yet have
any text, just saying it is a concept draft, as of April 3, 2019.
L.D. 1033 sponsored by Rep. Anne Perry (D – Calais) creates a crime for gun owners who do not store their guns in a locked container or use certain security devices, even in their own homes. The evidence of a crime is wanton or reckless conduct if injury or death results in the violation. The fine can be as low as $200 for the first offense and as high as $1,000 for additional offenses. It is not clear from the text of the bill how this law would be enforced or how violations would be discovered by law enforcement.
L.D. 1071 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Cardone (D
– Bangor) would ban the sale of magazines with a capacity of higher than 10
rounds for all firearms in the state of Maine. Many, if not most of, the sidearms
carried by law enforcement officers in Maine have standard magazine capacity
higher than 10 rounds, which means this law would likely criminalize a law
enforcement officer purchasing a replacement magazine, among other things. Many
sidearms sold on the commercial market also come with standard magazines of
higher capacity as well as many sporting rifles.
L.D. 1099 sponsored by Senator Everett “Brownie”
Carson (D – Cumberland) would treat anyone purchasing a firearm in Maine as if
they might use that firearm to commit a violent crime such as a murder, or
commit suicide. It implements a 72-hour waiting period from the time the firearm
is purchased until the buyer can take possession of the firearm. Bank guards,
armed truck guards, law enforcement and firearms dealers would be exempt. The
fine would be $200-$500 for a first offense and $500-$1,000 for violations
L.D. 1276 sponsored by Sen. Linda Sanborn (D –
Cumberland) is another background check proposal, which expands background
checks to private sales if that sale was the result of an interaction at a gun show
or from advertising.
L.D. 1569 sponsored by Rep. Lois Reckitt (D – South Portland) attempts to crack down on the ability of Mainers to download and create firearms with blueprints and a 3-D printer. It also creates a new crime for distributing the information to create 3-D printed guns, and makes it a crime to transfer, sell, attempt to sell, or distribute unfinished gun parts.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Maine Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold public hearings on these bills on May 10th, 2019. Those public hearings will be in Room 436 of the Maine State House.
As a backdrop to this series of proposals, the Maine Legislature is also considering a so-called “Red Flag Bill” which would create a process where Maine gun owners could have their guns confiscated by police based on a secret process where they do not know they face that confiscation until law enforcement officers arrive at their home.