"Maine guns for Mass. drugs" (March 14) was an excellent piece of journalism. Congratulations to Mark LaFlamme for his coverage of this topic. Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence has been working on this issue for a considerable time and applauds his work.
The National Rifle Association has argued that there is no such thing as a gun show loophole and, on its Web site, calls it a myth. Tell that to the victims of crime in Massachusetts and New York where Maine guns, obtained legally here, were used by felons in the commission of those crimes.
In Maine, as the article pointed out, only federally licensed gun dealers such as L.L. Bean or Cabela’s require background checks. What it didn’t mention is that 200 to 300 people each year fail those checks. But those who fail, including felons, can easily obtain guns through Uncle Henry’s, immediately and without a background check. Uncle Henry’s lists hundreds of guns for sale or trade every week.
LaFlamme does a good job of pointing out that responsible gun owners do not want to sell a gun that might end up being used in a homicide, but realistically there are only two solutions: the gun seller can, voluntarily, go through a licensed dealer for the sale, or Maine needs to tighten up its laws and require all sellers to do background checks.
Karen A. D’Andrea, director
Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, Portland