Maine sheriffs urge focus on mental health


AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine sheriffs are urging legislators to focus on mental health issues in the gun-violence debate ahead.

The Maine Sheriffs Association held an informational session for lawmakers on Thursday at an Augusta hotel to provide an overview of issues in the debate arising from the Dec. 14 massacre at Newtown, Conn.

The association’s vice president, Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty, said mental health and not guns is the key to reducing violence related to shootings. But the Kennebec Journal in Augusta said the sheriffs association is not taking a formal stance on gun control proposals.

Dozens of legislators and law enforcement officials from around the state attended Thursday’s two-hour session. Instructors displayed different types of shotguns, revolvers, pistols and rifles, and the ammunition used in each of them.