Maine gun debate stirs passions

Scott Thistle/Sun Journal

David Shnur of Lewiston testifies in opposition to a bill that would limit the capacity on ammunition magazines to 10 bullets during a public hearing Monday in Augusta before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Lawmakers this week will hear from the public on up to 20 different bills that seek to change Maine's gun laws.

AUGUSTA — A bill that would make ammunition clips that hold more than 10 cartridges illegal drew passionate views from gun-rights and gun-control advocates at the Legislature on Monday.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety public hearing schedule:

Tuesday, April 9, 1 p.m.

LD 265: An Act to Repeal the Restriction of Employers Regarding Firearms Kept in an Employee’s Vehicle

LD 771: An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Reciprocity for Concealed Handguns Permits

LD 1173: An Act to Repeal the Law Allowing Concealed Weapons in State Parks with Certain Exceptions

Wednesday, April 10, 1 p.m.

LD 335: An Act to Review Firearm Laws in the State

LD 724: An Act to Require Firearms Used in the Commission of Certain Acts to be Civilly Forfeited to the State and Destroyed

LD 1182: An Act Regarding the Disposition of Firearms in State Custody

Thursday, April 11, 10 a.m.

LD 660: An Act to Enhance Self-defense by Removing Restrictions on the Carrying and Use of Weapons

Thursday, April 11, 1 p.m.

LD 594: An Act to Prohibit Possession of a Firearm by a Person Who Has Created a Police Standoff

LD 958: An Act to Establish a Database to Prevent Individuals Involuntarily Admitted or Committed to a Mental Health Institution from Being Issued Concealed Handgun Permits

LD 1053: An Act Regarding a Retired Law Enforcement Officer Carrying a Concealed Handgun without a Permit

Friday, April 12, 10 a.m.

LD 188: An Act to Criminalize Possession of a Suspended or Revoked Concealed Handgun Permit

LD 189: An Act to Establish a Central Concealed Handgun Permit Database

LD 191: An Act to Authorize the Suspension of a Concealed Handgun Permit

LD 222: An Act Designating the Chief of the State Police as the Only Issuing Authority of a Permit to Carry a Concealed Handgun

LD 223: An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding a Concealed Handgun Permit

LD 1022: An Act to Improve Training Requirements for Obtaining a Concealed Handgun Permit

The first of more than 20 bills that are being heard before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee included the legislation limiting ammunition clips and ones that require criminal background checks for private and gun-show firearm sales.

Many of the bills are in response to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December. 

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said the sponsor of the bill that places limits on ammunition clips said his was a "straightforward and common sense approach" to limiting the amount of destruction any one shooter could inflict.

Alfond told his colleagues the problem was a complex one but one that deserved their attention.

It's "a problem that has caused a nation to grieve — and brought sorrow to families and communities," Alfond said. "A problem that has given us pause about the tenuous nature of our own life and the lives of our loved ones. And a problem that at times has shaken our faith and called into question the very nature of humanity.”

But gun-rights advocates refuted that a limit on a clip's capacity would prevent what Lewiston resident and former Army soldier David Shnur called the "pure evil" of the Sandy Hook incident.

"Thank God it is not something that is very prevalent in our society," Shnur said.

He said his biggest concern with Alfond's bill was that it does not contemplate whether those limits would be legal under the state's Constitution.

Maine's Constitution — after a statewide vote amended it in 1987 — includes that the right to keep and bear arms shall "never" be infringed upon.

"On a state level, there is no other provision in any other state in the country that is as strongly worded as the Maine Constitution and the word of 'never' is not used very often," Shnur said.  

Shnur also pointed out that New Hampshire and Vermont do not have any legislation pending that would limit the capacity of ammunition clips.

New York recently enacted a law limiting clip capacity to seven bullets, while Connecticut and Massachusetts have set it at 10, according to Cathie Whittenberg, a Portland resident and member of States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

Whittenberg testified in favor Alfond's bill and said Maine's hunting laws already limited the number of bullets in a clip for hunting to five. 

"This is not about stopping all mass shootings," Wittenberg said. "Because no legislation will do that, but this is about limiting the number of victims and giving people in those situations a fighting chance."

In recent mass shootings, bystanders or law enforcement were able to intervene or victims were able to make a run for it only when the shooter stopped to reload a weapon, Portland police Chief Michael Sauschuck told the committee.

High-capacity magazines were a common theme in the most recent mass shootings, Sauschuck said. He said they were not the only common theme, but a critical one.

Lawmakers on the committee will continue hearing bills on changes to Maine's firearms laws for rest of the week before they begin voting on the bills later this month.

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Eric  LeBlanc's picture

Infringe on my constitutional

Infringe on my constitutional rights and I'll shred you like an expired credit card.

Jason Theriault's picture

No you wont.

You'll respond like a reasonable adult. You'll protest, write letters to the editor, and you'll keep on living.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Stupid is as stupid does

2 Shootings Involve 4-Year-Olds In 3 Days

In Tennessee, a 4-year old boy shot and killed the wife of a state sheriff's deputy on Saturday, according to police.

In Toms River, New Jersey, on Monday night, a 4-year-old shot a 6-year old in the head with a .22 caliber rifle, authorities say.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Guns, Amunition, More Guns More Amunition.....

We have a problem here. Everyone is arguing for the same results, just from a whole bunch of different angles. I think it's safe to say that we all want fewer people being shot. Personally I have been of this opinion for years. Yet today we have a story in our local paper about a local couple, spending the afternoon drinking in a local bar, and ultimately stumbling home drunk. We know this due to eye witness reports from the young people in the house. From all my years working in bars, I know it's sometimes difficult to determine if drunk people are fighting or expressing their love for each other, when your drunk these two things are interchangeable. In this case they were fighting, we know this because SHE decides to bring in a loaded gun and proceeds to let HIM shoot her.
What does anyone think the outcome of all this would have been, if either one of these drunks maybe showed a little "Responsibility"? I personally feel that if a lot more people acted responsibly, there wouldn't be the need for all this debating on gun safety. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm climbing back under my bed, where it's safe..................................

RONALD RIML's picture

"Without Guns we'll Starve to Death.....

And then we'll have to beat the furry animals to death with our canes so we can eat again......."

Photo from the Kennebec Journal......

Tim Grimmel's picture


Congratulations on showing your pure ignorance, posting rude remarks about someone without knowing a thing about them. What makes you so superior that you can sit in judgement of total strangers? Here's the answer, nothing. You sir are part of the problem in this nation...people who lack respect and decency for fellow man.

RONALD RIML's picture

Tim, what makes me so superior?? Why ask??

I looked at your profile here. You didn't bother to fill in a damn thing about yourself.

Look at mine. See if I have any experience.

Tim Grimmel's picture


My not having had time to fill out my profile yet, has nothing to do with anything here. You're certainly entitled to your opinions on gun violence...that is not what my comment was about. My comment directly relates to your choice to pass judgement on people, whom you know nothing about, and insult them based purely on how they look, dressed, and the presence of a cane. You don't know if the person(s) in the photo were disabled veterans, or anything of that nature. I do not know either, as I wasn't in the room for their testimony (we could not all be in there at once, due to the volume of people speaking).

RONALD RIML's picture

Mr. Grimmel - you imply

Disabled citizens are of less value than disabled veterans.

How specious. Should we assume any of your testimony was so???

Tim Grimmel's picture

don't twist my words

That was not what I said, nor intended to imply. Again you have avoided address the fact that you're disrespectful and insulting. I'm not going to continue this conversation, as it's headed no where. You're disrespectful, and I find that a damn shame. You clearly don't, have a good day.

RONALD RIML's picture

Tim Grimmel writes:

"You don't know if the person(s) in the photo were disabled veterans, or anything of that nature. I do not know either, "

So why play the 'Disabled Veteran' Card, Tim?? If for any other reason than to garner sympathy for your cause. Have you ever been in the Military? Have you ever been to war? Have you ever been shot at??

I didn't bring it up. You did.

You ought to know about 'Disrespectful and Insulting' - it's a game you're well versed in.

Tim Grimmel's picture

not garnering sympathy

Let me be crystal clear, I'm not garnering sympathy for my cause. I would have made the same statement if the people were in opposition to my viewpoint. The only thing I have said here is that you are being disrespectful and insulting without knowing anything about these people other then what you assume from a photo. Apparently you assume because my viewpoints differ from yours, that I must be playing cards to gather sympathy for my cause...but if you read through my comments today I have not made any comments attempting to do so. The only thing I've done is tell you to show some respect to your fellow man. Something everyone should do, if we truly want to live in a better state...with less problems, and with the ability to reach solutions to the problems efficiently.

A game I'm well versed in? I haven't been roaming through the comments, or photos of the website randomly insulting total strangers. The only thing I'm versed in is defending these strangers from being insulted by you. Matter of fact, I haven't been insulting you even, I've stated the fact that you have disrespected and insulted strangers. The only person playing this so called game of disrespectful and insulting is you.

It's clear that you have no desire to be a respectful man, and therefore I'm done spending time trying to talk to you. Reply how you want, twist words how you want, it really doesn't matter, because I have no interest in your responses any further.

RONALD RIML's picture

Promise...You won't respond!!!??

RONALD RIML's picture

You're a photographer.....

Perhaps if you'd taken as many crime scene photos of shooting incidents - victims and perpetrators (living and stone cold dead) as I - you might have other thoughts concerning this national preoccupation with guns.

Yep - I'm part of the Gun-Nuts' Problem and Proud of it.......

Tim Grimmel's picture


I don't need to take crime scene photos to know that the common denominator in all of these cases is people...people losing respect for their fellow man. A respect that you've shown you've also lost, which is a damn shame. I'd have much higher regard for your opinions on the subject, if you were respectful.

RONALD RIML's picture

I only need be truthful...

Something the Gun Lobby abandoned years ago.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Just make sure.................

Just make sure someone wakes these gentlemen up before the little critters get away..............

Thomas Hamilton's picture

More guns?

Approximate number of gun-related homicides per 100,000 of population
United States 3.10
Canada 0.50
Australia 0.09
U.K. 0.04
Japan 0.04

Are we safer with more unregulated guns?

 's picture

Total Waste of time

As our Legislature wastes its time on all these bills bussiness' are leaving Colorado after they passed bills banning magazine size. What our state should be doing is going after these companies to move to Maine. But no why don't we waste time on laws that are unnessarry. I instructed thousands of people on weapons in 20 years of service to my country. My first complaint from all these so callled experts, is they say with all the shootings people were able to excape while the shooter was swapping magazines.Bull !! It takes less than 2 seconds to change magazines I can not see to many people jumping up and running to safety in 2 seconds unless they are Olympic sprinters. It is time that our Legislature use what is hard to find in Augusta ,Common Sense , stop wasting time on bills that will only hurt the state and start working on things that will help. We need jobs in this state not laws that stop us from protecting our selves. Law enforcement is not going to be minutes away when you live in a remote part of the state. I for one want to have the same ability as the law enforcement people to protect myself.

RONALD RIML's picture

Is that 'Really' what was said????

Dexter writes: "My first complaint from all these so callled experts, is they say with all the shootings people were able to excape while the shooter was swapping magazines"

"All the shootings?" All 'what' shootings are you referring to, Dexter?

It may take two seconds to change out a magazine by a trained person under ideal circumstances - but under the stress of actual conflict shooting?

But at least provide links to these 'shootings' you are complaining about.

 's picture

Why do I need to provide links

When you have so called experts making comments relating to something i.e. the Portland Police Chief. I only stated what I know as fact it does not take a expert to change magazines in 2 sec it takes anyone who has practiced. These crazies that go into schools and movie theaters have practiced if only in front of mirrors. Anyone with any knowledge at all in weapons will tell you the same thing, people who have no knowledge want links.

 's picture

Why do I need to provide links

When you have so called experts making comments relating to something i.e. the Portland Police Chief. I only stated what I know as fact it does not take a expert to change magazines in 2 sec it takes anyone who has practiced. These crazies that go into schools and movie theaters have practiced if only in front of mirrors. Anyone with any knowledge at all in weapons will tell you the same thing, people who have no knowledge want links.

RONALD RIML's picture

You refer to 'Shootings'

Then decline to provide links nor references to them. So those were shootings in general rather than specific.....

Why do authors need to provide references in research papers??

 's picture

This a reply to an arrogant person

What makes you the Professor of the paper. I come on here to make coments and to share with others my concerns. I do not come on here for an English class. If you can't take my comments and come back with a normal reply don't reply at all. If I wanted a English class I could find a better place for them. The comments I made were from a person who has taught weapons to thousands of people. They were about the weapon and the time it takes to change a magazine. After twenty years of teaching I feel I am quite proficient in the knowledge of this. If you have any knowledge to the contrary I would like to hear them, but I do not need to be told I need to add links to verify a comment.

RONALD RIML's picture

Arrogant?? By questioning you about your remarks???

Sorry - I joined the service almost fifty years ago when one learned how to hold their ground.

You wrote: "My first complaint from all these so callled experts, is they say with all the shootings people were able to excape while the shooter was swapping magazines.Bull !! It takes less than 2 seconds to change magazines I can not see to many people jumping up and running to safety in 2 seconds unless they are Olympic sprinters."

I merely asked you for a link to these "shootings" you're complaining about; or lack thereof.

If you're complaining about something particular - there should be something referencing it out there on the internet. That's all I asked for. If it's merely BS stories passed around 'The Range' - fine. I was a Police Firearms Instructor for a bit, and I know how that gig goes. The stories get more fantastic and better with age.

So you retired from the AF; I did nine in the Navy, another 13 in the Reserves, and 20 on a PD. So we were both gluts on the tax-payer.

So thanks for appointing me Professor of the Paper. Let me know what Honorarium comes with it, and make sure the appropriate funds are deposited in whatever account.


 's picture

You refer to know so much

Why does the news media not give links to their stories. Using a so called expert statements with out any links. Why are you arguing without providing links to show your point of view. If you have no idea of what you are commenting on, only commenting to see yourself in ink. I gave a point of view with my knowledge of the weapons, to show that not always does this liberal paper show both sides of the story.

RONALD RIML's picture

I often provide links to reference my posts.

You'll learn this once by the time you're out of Boot Camp.

RONALD RIML's picture

Reputable Journalists always 'source' their stories.....

As decent publications footnote. You need to be told that at this point in your life?

Mark Elliott's picture

We continue to allow this

We continue to allow this president to use our love for our children against us. This is classic textbook marxisim folks!

Obama claims "if we could save just one child, we should" yet be continues to refuse to defund planned organization responsible for thousands of innocent child deaths every day!

The difference is, defunding planned parenthood will NEVER lead to disarming the of the first steps to destroy any republic or any democracy. It is classic textbook marxism and communism all the way!

RONALD RIML's picture

What's being "Used Against Us" - Mark??

That's a pretty broad allegation with no particulars.

How about listing them out, concisely, precisely - and to the point so we know what you're talking about.

Mark Elliott's picture

Our "love for our children"

Our "love for our children" Riml....just as I said above! Liberals claim, if we don't support gun control, then we don't love our children and that's BS! THEY are standing on the graves of those children and using those deaths to push their Marxist agenda knowing full well, none of the laws passed in CT would have stopped Adam Lanza........

When do you plan to jump on the ban knives train?

RONALD RIML's picture

You are still merely 'Ranting'

Be specific, concise. Name names.

Mark Elliott's picture

The Maine state constitution

The Maine state constitution actually says "will not be QUESTIONED"......

so the idea of banning large capacity mags is to "give them a fighting chance"?.....There is a much better way! Support Garett Masons constitutional carry bill!

Thomas Hamilton's picture

Maine Constitution

What ever the Maine constitution says it can be changed.

Mark Elliott's picture

Yes it can...but there's a

Yes it can...but there's a process for that and liberals find it easier just to trample on it instead of follow the process.......any sort of gun regulation is proving to be very difficult for them to win........yet, it's still easier than changing the constitution.

I am willing to bet, if it were changed in your favor, you would quickly rub the constitution in our face then......

RONALD RIML's picture

You're right to shlep around Maine with a 3'50 cal AA gun

was questioned - and in fact - doesn't exist.

Damn - there ARE limits to Constitutional Rights. Who'da thunk it!!!!

It appears you haven't....

Steve  Dosh's picture

Maine gun debate stirs passions

all, 19:00 hst ? Monday
Guns are the problem . We don't own any . Have you ever had a gun pointed @ you in anger ? i have in Guatemala defending your rights to free speech assembly , religion , and from drugs ( Cocaine ) coming up from Columbia and the upper Hullaga Valley region
Lived to tell about it , too
Many of your drugs come in from la Canada or are made in your state ( ice - crystal meth )
hth ? /s , Dr. Dosh F S O ( ret .) and ohana , HI 96778 u s a

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Simple solution

Give them all the guns and clips they want.

Regulate an allotted amount of ammo, with a record of purchase. Guns don't kill or maim, ammo does, by the action of all kinds of people....even one bullet is too much for some.

Ask the father that accidentally shot his 10 month old....or the guy in Auburn who shot his hand.

Andrew Jones's picture

Yes; because we don't have

Yes; because we don't have the resources to register and track millions of firearms, we should invest in a system to do the same for billions of boxes of ammo. What a sound plan.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Your glass is half Empty, think outside of the box

You need to step outside your sand box...We have already today and guess what, a future of companies that track millions of users for credit cards, and products, whereas they can tell you what you bought and when you bought it. So if a credit card company or a company selling products can do it so can the government.

Since the GOP is always wanting to outsource the governments jobs, they could contract it out for bid, lets see maybe Halliburton since they get all of the contracts, non bid, for most government jobs. I know the Dick, Cheney would suck that up in a heartbeat.

Thousands of American Jobs for a purpose of keeping it all in check. You have something against capitalism?

Billions of is numbers of a precise product and a name, address;, wow that is really hard to tally and compute...

Noel Foss's picture

Something to consider:

Maine has a relatively high rate of gun ownership. Manufacturers of modern sporting rifles have been based in Maine for years, and their products have proven popular with sport shooters, varmint hunters, and collectors across the state.
Additionally, the majority of handguns sold today are of a semi-automatic design and have magazine capacities in excess of 10 rounds.
Despite this prevalence, Maine's murder rate has remained low, and the number of mass shootings in the state has remained static.
If it isn't broke, don't fix it.
But maybe consider putting some more effort into the problems that we DO have, rather than trying to solve a problem we don't.

 's picture

Sound proposal

Limits on the size of magazines has nothing to do with the right to bear arms. It does not limit in any way the ownership of firearms. So this proposal is very constitutional.
Limiting the size of magazines increases the number of times the firearm must be reloaded (in Mass shootings) providing time for potential victims to escape or disarm the killer (as happened in Arizona).
With roughly 2 million households in America having both guns and seriously mentally ill folks, mass shootings are certain to occur with regularity. Anything that brings potential shooters before police and mental health practitioners is an opportunity to prevent one of these horrific events. Some rights of the mentally ill will have to be compromised and perhaps some law-abiding sane citizens will be inconvenienced, but that is a small price to pay to prevent even one mass shooting.

Brad Alexander's picture

Mental Health

I don't see why everyone is focussing on the mental health aspect of this whole situation. Every day people who are perfectly sane, in the eyes of the masses, go through several stages of depression and highs. On any one given day a perfectly sane person can snap and go through the roof and shoot everyone around them... The key here is not the mental capacity of the person, it's the scapegoat. Mass shootings, and shootings in general, is becoming the new "cool" thing for people to do. It's a way for someone to devastate a large amount of other people and then take themselves out as well so they don't have to suffer.

 's picture

I've mentioned your point repeatedly

Sane people both under stress and for profit are the primary cause of violence. That doesn't make the seriously mentally ill a scapegoat. Mass shootings are not the new "cool". They are however the means to express rage or insanity. People who are a threat to themselves and others need to be identified and treated as one part of an overall strategy. President Obama took 23 executive actions and wats additional legislation. With 2 million seriously mentally ill people in households with fiearms this is no small issue.

Brad Alexander's picture

You refute your own statements

In your initial post you say, "With roughly 2 million households in America having both guns and seriously mentally ill folks, mass shootings are certain to occur with regularity." Then in your reply to my comment you state, "Sane people both under stress and for profit are the primary cause of violence. That doesn't make the seriously mentally ill a scapegoat." So how is you saying that with mentally ill people having guns in their homes is not a scapegoat to the cause... And then you also add the word "seriously". This changes the entire aspect of the conversation. There are millions of people who live with dissabilities every day. Then you throw "seriously disabled" into the mix and the story changes.

I'm not saying that both sane and insane (according to society) are not both issues for gun violence. What I'm getting at is the media focus on the Sandy Hook shooting was that the person that did the shootings was mentally handicapped. This has been the focus of most of the conversations about bans has been directed at and using mental handicaps as the scapegoat.

Noel Foss's picture

Ah, the small price to pay argument.

Perhaps we should prohibit firearms ownership by all minorities. After all, the majority of gun murders in the US are committed by poor minorities in urban areas. Sure, the rights of those people will be compromised and some law-abiding sane citizens will be inconvenienced, but it's a small price to pay to prevent gun violence.

 's picture

The color of one's skin has nothing to do with the causes or

results of mass shootings or gun violence. Magazine capacity and firearms' functionality do have a direct relationship to the damage done, lives lost, and injury to society. Regulating them will contribute to minimizing that social injury at an incredibly low cost.

Noel Foss's picture

Nothing at all? Clearly you haven't been doing your reading.

The majority of gun-related homicides in the US take place in poor urban areas and involve young males shot by handguns. Adjusted for their percentage of the overall population, minorities are significantly over represented for homicides. And yet, they are vastly under represented when it comes to reporting on those homicides.
For instance, in 2011 8,583 people were murdered with firearms. 6,220 of them involved handguns, and 323 of them involved rifles.

Of those deaths, 89.3% were committed by males, and 54.8% were minorities (52.4% were black, 2.4% were of another race)

Additional reading:

However, the majority of the conversation about gun violence isn't in response to or in regards to these offenses. It's about the minority of offenses committed outside of these areas, with the least commonly used weapons. The folks pushing for these new restrictions are claiming that they want to prevent gun violence, but they only get outraged by and only focus on a small percentage of the gun murders in the US. Why? Who knows. Maybe it's racism, maybe it's favoritism by the press, maybe it's random.

 's picture

Once again a association not a cause

Improved mental health systems that identify and treat seriously mentally ill people will reduce all types of gun violence.
Regulation of detachable magazine capacities will reduce the butcher's bill in Mass Shootings.
Background checks on all firearm transfers will prevent prohibited people from acquiring firearms easily.
Heavy prosecutions of people arrested with or for using a firearm acquired illegally will reduce the opportunity to commit crimes.
These are actions which address the cause of the social harm done by gun violence and that will have a positive impact on reducing mass shootings and other crimes committed with fiearms.

Noel Foss's picture


"Guilt by association" seems to be the theory behind the recent push for more restrictions on the law-abiding in the response to the actions of the law-breaking.
California has some of the strictest gun restrictions in the country, yet routinely has more than 1000 murders per year (1,257 in 2010).
Chicago and DC have incredibly restrictive laws on firearms ownership, yet routinely top the charts for gun violence.

Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have relatively few restrictions on firearms ownership, yet routinely rank among the safest places in the country to live.

Whatever the solution to gun violence may be, more restrictions on what the citizenry are allowed to own aren't going to get the job done. Mental health improvements I agree with, and increased prosecutions for those who violate the laws are something I can support. I've can grit my teeth and support universal background checks on transfers. But bans on certain guns based on cosmetic features and limits on magazine capacities have been done in this country before, and they haven't had a measurable impact on gun violence.

I think it's about time to try something different for a change.

 's picture

I agree with most but not your first comment

"Guilt by association" seems to be the theory behind the recent push for more restrictions on the law-abiding in the response to the actions of the law-breaking." This is false. Lochner was a law-abiding citizen up to the moment he but a bullet into Gabby Gifford's head. Lanza was a law abiding citizen until he fired a bullet into his sleeping mother's head. Law abiding is not a permanent class; its a transitory status.
I oppose banning anything, but more restrictions on gun owners that are at the level of an inconvenience will have major benefits. The AWB is silly and will not become law. Its a non-issue. But its all lawmakers have to work with. The 1994 AWB did have an impact on gun violence. Inclusion of semi-automatic firearms in the NFA of 1934 is another approach and that law is constitutionally tested and works.

Noel Foss's picture

The 1994 AWB had an impact on gun violence?

I have to disagree, and so did the DOJ.

Should you not care to read through those rather lengthy reports;

At best, the 1994 AWB's impact was negligible. It happened to be smack dab in the middle of a decreasing trend in homicides, but they were decreasing before it took effect, and continued to decrease after it expired, independent of whether there was an AWB (including magazing capacity restrictions) in place or not.

Frankly, I think that the reason we're seeing a recent increase in mass shootings is because of the fame (I hate to use that word; maybe notoriety?), and recognition these individuals receive from society.

RONALD RIML's picture

So why only 'Scratch the Surface?'

Why WOULD California have so many homicides??

Gee, Dick Tracy - perhaps because it has such a high population. Ever think of that? In 2011 California's "Murder" Rate was 4.8 per 100,000 population. The Nation's was 4.7. So California was statistically at the national average.

New Hampshire and Vermont's rate were both 1.3; while Maine's was over 50% higher at 2.0. Why are we so much higher than those two neighboring New England States?? See: Murder Rates Nationally

I'm more curious about that than why Chicago and D.C. have such high rates. We don't live in Chicago nor D.C. - and Maine is so much more like New Hampshire and Vermont.

And Maine's murder rate was higher, per capita, than Hawaii (1.2), Minnesota (1.4), and Iowa (1.5)

(Maine's Murder rate was as low as 1.1 and 1.2 back about ten years ago - it's climbed since then)

So what's going on here????

Noel Foss's picture


Despite all those regulations and restrictions, California can't even get below the national average? Hardly an argument for increased restrictions here in Maine.

Simple answer as to why we're higher? When the numbers are proportionally low, percentages rise rapidly. For instance, Portland had 1 murder in 2012; Bangor had 6. "OH MY GOD, Bangor is 600% more dangerous than Portland!"

Yes, Maine in several years had higher murder rates than Vermont. And in other years Vermont had higher rates. The average for the three states over the 16 years measured was as follows: Maine:1.7, Vermont:1.8, New Hampshire:1.2. Clearly New Hampshire is safer; I'd say Maine and Vermont are about equal.
Incidentally, over those 16 years Hawaii averaged 2.3, Minnesota averaged 2.3, and Iowa managed 1.6.

If you want to blame it on population, how do you explain the rate in DC (21.9 per 100k in 2010), or in Chicago (15.2 per 100K in 2010)? You're from the Chicago area originally; surely you've got some ideas. Both of these cities have very (putting it mildly) restrictive laws on firearms ownership, and have for some time. Despite that, their murder rates remain high (also an understatement). One (Washington DC) does not have the death penalty, the other (Chicago) does. A depressingly interesting paradox.

As far as what's going on here? Probably an increased prevalence of drug use, among other things. I know that at least three of the murders in Bangor were drug related:

RONALD RIML's picture

So what's going on???

You ask: "Despite all those regulations and restrictions, California can't even get below the national average? Hardly an argument for increased restrictions here in Maine."

I ask: "Maine is one of the safest States in the Country, with an extremely low violent crime rate. Why is there such a push among a certain segment of it's citizenry to keep arming themselves?"

RONALD RIML's picture

I'm from Chicago like someone from Lewiston is from


Noel Foss's picture

1,000 apologies.

From an earlier conversation:
"I worked 'south' of Chicago - not in Chicago - in a town of about 27,000 population - Kankakee, IL"

Also, you mentioned an influx of citizenry from Chicago during your time in that town. I took that to mean Chicago area. Perhaps you can get around my misperception and actually try answering the question posed.
In the spirit of cooperation, I'll attempt an answer at yours.

"Maine is one of the safest States in the Country, with an extremely low violent crime rate. Why is there such a push among a certain segment of it's citizenry to keep arming themselves?"

Maybe it's because they're constitutionally (on both a Federal and a State level) entitled to do so? Or maybe it's because they've seen a recent increase in crime in their area and are directing the traditional Maine independent streak towards taking steps to protect themselves against the possibility of a threat? Hell, maybe they or someone they know have been the victim of a crime and knowing that they can have a chance at defending themselves makes them sleep better at night. Whatever their reasons, they don't need to justify themselves to you. In Maine, you don't have to justify firearms possession; you have to justify denying it.
You came from a city with a history of a high homicide rate (at one point over 80 per 100K people, according to you), in a state with a rate higher than the national average, and moved to a state with an exponentially lower homicide rate and a drastically different way of regulating firearms. Who's got the better approach? Based on the murder rate, the answer seems fairly obvious.

RONALD RIML's picture

Try not to do "Maybes'"

"Maybe it's because they're constitutionally (on both a Federal and a State level) entitled to do so?" Sure - Free Speech is Constitutionally protected, yet I don't see a flood of literature (except NRA) demanded in certain areas... (tongue in cheek)

You write: "In Maine, you don't have to justify firearms possession; you have to justify denying it. You can't even justify barring firearms from your own property. i.e. Employees bringing guns to work in their vehicles on employer property.

The 'Approach' had nothing to do with Homicide Rates. Socio-Economic conditions did.

Noel Foss's picture

"Maybes" are my way of saying

"I can't speak for everybody, because I don't know everything about everybody"
*Maybe* you should try more maybes.

Seems to me that folks in Maine take their 1st amendment rights just as seriously. How else do you explain the uproar over LD345? That's all about right to privacy vs right to know. For a flood of literature, all you've got to do is head over the the SJ printing office. Their setup is pretty neat to see in action.

"You can't even justify barring firearms from your own property."
That one's both true and false. The employee (with appropriate concealed weapons permit) can bring a firearm onto the employer's property, but only if it stays out of sight in a locked vehicle. They're barred from bringing the firearm into the office if the employer doesn't want them to.
But, look at it this way; People get a CCW so that they can more easily carry a gun with them when they're not at home. Where do most people do most of their driving to? Work. And consider how often these folks run errands in town after their shift ends.
It seems a reasonable compromise (though I'm sure you won't agree)

 's picture

I'd like to know also.

Comparing statistics especially because the NRA has prevented the collection of base data is very difficult. Real census information is not available (how many guns and their distribution among households). The mental state of perpetrators, the reasons for the incidents, I could go on for ever on the data we don't have good grasp of.
About half of Maine's homcides are domestic violence or they were.

Andrew Jones's picture

Innocent people only have a

Innocent people only have a fighting chance against a madman with a gun when they themselves are armed as well.

 's picture

Obviously false

I stood at my front door when a very large gentleman pulled a sawed off shotgun from behind his back intent on shooting me. I'm still here. I had no gun. There was no fire fight. Innocent people were not injured by a stray bullet.

Noel Foss's picture

Did he shoot you?

Did the point the gun at you and pull the trigger?
Because if not, then clearly he was not as determined to shoot you as you think.

 's picture

He didn't pull the trigger

But not because he didn't want to. I and my roomates were prepared and never gave him the opportunity.

Noel Foss's picture

So you had the advantages of greater numbers

As well as an opportunity for preparation. Not everyone has those advantages.
Not that the situation was less dangerous for you, but you have to admit that it greatly influenced the outcome.

 's picture

When you live in Powelton Village in Philadelphia

being prepared at all times is necessary for survival what with gangs warring up and down your street on most Summertime Friday nights and a methodone clinic two doors away. You come to expect a certain level of violence and crime.

RONALD RIML's picture

So then they'll all be M.A.D.* Men.......

*Mutually Assured Destruction

Andrew Jones's picture

Hey, it worked during the

Hey, it worked during the Cold War...

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mr. Jones ? Monday night

Mr. Jones ? Monday night 19:10 ?
" If the anarchists came in to power wouldn't they have to dissolve their own government , by definition ? "
It's a rhetorical question
b t w - R I P Iron Maiden Margret Thatcher . No guns up there
Out here in Pahoa we use daggers . That's what it means . In Hawai'ian . Home of the daggers , Not to mention machetés , pepper spray , slingshots ( ball bearings ) , bows and arrows , the law , mace , automobiles as weapons , fisticuffs , HAh hah hah . Not really
The US Peace Corps trained people here in 1 9 6 3
/s , Aloha from Pahoa Steve Dosh RPCV Micro' 78
Make love, not war

Bob Berry's picture

I like what Rand said:

Call me when you have a gun control proposal that would have stopped Sandy Hook.

Doing something for the sake of doing something is a political favorite. It plays well to voters. Doing something for positive change takes courage. Doing something just to look good is selfish.

RONALD RIML's picture

Yearly Firearms Tax

Mom most likely would have got rid of her fun guns.........

Noel Foss's picture


By that theory, people wouldn't own boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles....

RONALD RIML's picture

Depends on how much use one derives from these things.....

and whether or not it is worth paying the tax.

"Return" on value.....

Bob Berry's picture

Comment Tax

Let's put a tax on comment replies.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Taxed already

You taxed your mind just writing that!

RONALD RIML's picture

We'll implement both!!!!



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