Maine: Mills Administration Finally Admits Push for Universal Background Checks

Gun Rights

With each passing day, arguments from anti-gun groups and lawmakers continue to unravel. Last week, the independent commission unanimously found that the shooting occurred because existing laws were not enforced. Now, Governor Janet Mills’ Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck accidentally said the quiet part out loud, Governor Mills is using underhanded tactics to pass a full-blown Universal Background Check law in Maine. 

At a work session on Thursday, Senator Anne Carney (D-Cumberland), Chair of the Judiciary Committee and “Maine Gun Safety Caucus”, nailed the Public Safety Commissioner with a “gotcha” question. When asked by Carney if the Governor’s language creates an “alternative” to “requiring background checks on all private sales”, not just the so-called “advertised” sales in the bill, the commissioner answered, “that’s a fair assessment.” This answer differs greatly from the public media campaign launched by the Governor, whose staff has previously pushed back on claims they are attempting to implement Universal Background Checks, which Mainers recently rejected at the ballot box

For months, the NRA and gun-rights supporting lawmakers have been sounding the alarm that the background check language in the Governor’s bill would implement this failed national anti-gun agenda item in Maine. If passed, the Governor’s bill would require all “advertised sales” to go through a Federal Firearm Licensee and a NICS background check, regardless of if the individual knew that the buyer was not prohibited from owning a firearm. But this bill does not only subject Mainers to costly FFL transfers whenever they wish to transfer a firearm, it could also make them felons. That’s right, as written, Governor Mills’ bill changes criminal code language to change the standard of evidence from “knowingly or intentionally” transferring a firearm to a prohibited individual, to “recklessly”. In addition to lowering this standard, it also increases the crime from a Class D misdemeanor to a Class C felony punishable by up to 5 years incarceration and a $5,000 fine. By their own admission, this change is meant to deter individuals from transferring any firearm without a background check to anyone, including family, friends, and neighbors. 

Following the slip-up by the Mills administration at the mic, the Judiciary Committee, which was slated to vote on the bill this week, tabled all gun-related bills until next week. Over the past several weeks, Carney’s sideshow has created a splinter in the gun debate within the State House. Carney, who has pushed for the full Bloomberg slate of gun control, appears to be continually playing games with the Governor’s bill to get her wish list of an even more extreme gun control package that includes waiting periods, assault weapons bans, and red flag laws. While the NRA and our members do not support Carney’s extreme gun grabbing views, we greatly appreciated her shining a light on this very dangerous provision within Governor Mills’ bill. 

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In the coming weeks, the slew of gun control bills will be hitting the floor for a full vote. All NRA members and gun rights supporters are urged to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose these anti-gun bills that will disarm law-abiding citizens and have no impact on crime in Maine. To contact your local lawmakers, click the TAKE ACTION button below NOW.


Please stay tuned to the NRA-ILA website and your inbox for updates and the situation in Maine progresses.

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