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Maine proposal to redefine “machine gun” could lead to backdoor gun confiscation

State Rep. Victoria Doudera (immediately to right of David Hogg) poses for a photo with the anti-gun activist along with other state lawmakers. (Photo courtesy State Representative Vicki Doudera Facebook Page)

AUGUSTA – A bill proposed by Rep. Victoria Doudera (D – Camden) would redefine what a “machine gun” is under state law. The Maine Legislature has attempted, without success, to pass more than a dozen laws that would impact Maine gun owners since the new Democrat majority was ushered in alongside Governor Janet Mills.

Rep. Doudera’s bill is one of a new group of proposals that will be considered by the Legislative Council on October 23. It is currently labeled LR 2829 “An Act To Amend the Definition of the Term “Machine Gun”” on the website of the Maine Revisor of Statutes.

Under current criminal code, unlawful possession of a “machine gun” is considered a substantive offense and subject to seizure and confiscation.

Maine Revised Statutes Title 17-A: Part 2, Chapter 43
§1053. Confiscation and seizure of machine gun

Any machine gun possessed in violation of section 1051 is declared to be contraband and is subject to forfeiture to the State. Any law enforcement officer shall have the power to seize the same with due process.”

The definition of a “machine gun” subject to confiscation and seizure under state law is as follows:

Maine Revised Statutes Title 17-A: Part 2, Chapter 43
§1051. Possession of machine gun

“A weapon of any description, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, which is capable of discharging a number of projectiles in rapid succession by one manual or mechanical action on the trigger or firing mechanism.”

By changing the definition of a “machine gun” to encompass more of the firearms owned by Mainers, Rep. Doudera’s proposal could also make those newly defined “machine guns” subject to confiscation and seizure, turning owners of those firearms into criminals under the new law.

Rep. Doudera’s proposal is subject to approval by a majority of the Legislature’s Legislative Council at their meeting on October 23. The council is comprised of the members of House and Senate leadership from both parties, with six Democrats and four Republicans. Senate President Troy Jackson Chairs the council, with Speaker Sara Gideon serving as Vice Chair.

Other bills related to guns that are being proposed include a bill to require gun owners to carry liability insurance, and a bill to ban so-called “assault type weapons” among others.

In all, nearly 400 new legislative proposals are expected to be considered by the Legislative Council on October 23.

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