Bill to arm Maine forest rangers stalls

AUGUSTA — A bill that would have allowed Maine forest rangers to carry firearms has stalled.

The bill was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Larry Dunphy of Embden and Democratic Rep. Catherine Nadeau of Winslow.

Many rangers themselves backed the measure, but the state agency they work for is opposed.

The Kennebec Journal (http://bit.ly/11AP3ch ) reports that nearly 20 rangers testified in favor of the bill before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee last month. They say they need to be able to protect themselves while patrolling remote areas and confronting possible law breakers.

But Doug Denico, director of the forestry division at the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said rangers are rarely in confrontational situations and allowing them to carry guns could "alienate the constituency."

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Comments

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Protection while alone, with unknowns

"They say they need to be able to protect themselves while patrolling remote areas and confronting possible lawbreakers."

Possible Meaning; Able to be done; within the power or capacity of someone or something.

I can see Doug's approach since he is a paper pusher behind a desk, forgetting the reality and danger of the job, but the others in the field should have the option.

For the reason of them mostly being alone-----

With the unknowns of being on the job in the forest or with any situation from rabid animals, large predators, the most dangerous mammal on earth - man - gun whack jobs, the Rangers should have some sort of defense of their choice.

Noel Foss's picture

Definitely.

If for nothing else, protection from dangerous animals should be taken into account. This wouldn't be mandating that they carry; simply giving them the option. Considering the spike in rabies cases over the last couple years thanks to mild winters, it seems prudent to give these guys something better than a stick or a Leatherman before we send them off into the woods.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Times change.....

Between 1980 and 1999, or so, I worked making deliveries. For many years delivering for "Country Kitchen" in areas like Central New Jersey, and all boroughs of New York City. Ninety-nine percent of that at night. I have delivered "New car parts" to dealerships all over the north east, again always at night. I never had a problem with anyone. I would be in the Broncs at three in the morning, then sneak on over to Harlem. I never had a care in the world. Except for maybe Jersey City, I never feared anyone or anyplace. Would I do it all over again? HELL NO. Times have changed, violence and drug activity has taken away the ability to feel safe anywhere. It's not just the inner city crime, it is everywhere. If I was working in the woods, and in contact with the public, I would be armed, or I wouldn't be there. Unfortunately people like Mr. Denico, don't seem to realize two things. in general, people are getting more and more unstable, and crimes are occurring in places they never occurred before. That means it would be just as likely to run into a deranged or delusional psycho, in a wooded State or National Park in Maine, as down town Newark NJ.
People need to decide these things based on today's reality, not what happened or didn't happen yesterday........

Bob Berry's picture

Doug is wrong

Doug is wrong on this one. I was surprised to learn that Forest Rangers do not carry. They are in remote areas. Lawbreakers will not see the Forest Ranger badge... they will just see the uniform. Forest Rangers ought to be armed, especially since they want to be!

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