A Maine bill that would have allowed gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit barely failed to pass the House of Representatives with a 74-73 vote.
Currently, Maine citizens can openly carry a gun without a permit. Carrying a concealed weapon does require a permit.
The bill might have suffered a narrow defeat, but there is still a chance that it could make its way through the legislature. The Senate will have a chance to rescue the bill with a favorable vote.
"It could go either way,” said David Trahan of the pro-gun group Sportsman's Alliance of Maine.
Gun rights supporters are not the only ones backing the bill. For some, getting rid of concealed carry permits is simply a matter of legal consistency and logic.
Rep. Allen Nadeau relayed a story wherein he was openly carrying a gun on his property, and then wanted to hide the gun under his jacket to protect it from rain. Nadeau said that his wife reminded him not to conceal the weapon because he would have been in violation of the state’s concealed carry law.
"It was my own farm and my own property," he argued.
Rep. Janice Cooper (D) wasn’t moved by her colleague’s story.
"I believe this [bill] would create a climate of fear much greater than we would want to live with," she said.
Other legislators who voted against the bill stated that they would rather fix the flawed permit system rather than get rid of it entirely.
The votes for the bill mostly went along party lines, but a few people jumped the fence. Rep. Timothy Marks (D) was the only Democrat who backed the bill. He pointed to the overwhelming lack of police protest.
"That's sign that they don't care," Marks said. "Nobody showed up."
The Democrats hold a slight majority in the Maine Senate. Another party line vote would be the final nail in this bill’s coffin.
Source: KJ Online