Maine police are rallying against a new bill that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Currently, police get the final say in who can get a concealed carry permit. The new bill would cut police out of the equation by reducing the process to a simple background check.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Aaron Libby (R) argues that the bill would simply make life easier for law-abiding gun owners. "Criminals don’t go apply for the process… They’re criminals by nature so they’re not going to follow the rules," he said. "So you take [those] limited resources, put in action towards actually catching real criminals.”
The bill won’t be all bad for law enforcement organizations. The bill would help police save time and money by getting rid of time-consuming paperwork.
Police officers aren’t convinced. The police argue that a simple background check isn’t sufficient to determine whether or not a person can carry a concealed weapon. One officer argued, “In just the past few months I’ve denied a dozen concealed permit applications… It’s a very thorough process, and to just throw that out the door just does not make sense.”
Similarly, South Portland Police Chief Ed Googans denied one applicant a permit because a protection order just ended against him, which is something that a background check wouldn’t have caught. A background check will go a long way towards determine whether or not somebody has a history of criminal tendencies, but at the end of the day background checks aren’t nearly as thorough as police investigators.
Googans added, “To eliminate that process in general is a disservice to the citizens of the state of Maine, and certainly to our law enforcement officers that are out there on the street.”
If Libby can muster enough support on the bill, Maine will become the fifth state to allow for carrying concealed weapons without a permit.