AUGUSTA — A state senator from Auburn said Thursday he has nearly 100 co-sponsors for a bill that would make it legal to carry a concealed firearm without a permit in Maine.

Republican Eric Brakey said a bipartisan coalition is backing the measure, which failed in the Legislature in 2013 and 2014.

A total of 96 lawmakers, and more than 50 percent of the Legislature is backing the bill, according to a release issued by Brakey’s office Thursday afternoon.

“You may be surprised by the people who have signed on to this bill, including members of leadership in both parties,” Brakey told the Sun Journal on Thursday evening.

The lead co-sponsor of the legislation is state Rep. Michael Shaw, D-Standish. Brakey said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, also had signed on as a sponsor.

“This is a moderate proposal,” Brakey said. “It allows law-abiding citizens who are already legally eligible to carry a visible handgun to also carry a concealed handgun.”


He added, “Under current Maine law, the simple action of putting on a jacket turns a law-abiding gun owner into a law-breaker, unless they undergo a lengthy permitting process. This legislation changes that, and in doing so restores our Second Amendment rights.”

Current state law requires a person wishing to carry a concealed firearm to apply for a permit with local law enforcement. The law also requires verification of a need to carry the weapon and certification that the permit holder has successfully completed a handgun training course.

Though eligible citizens would no longer be required to seek permits to carry concealed handguns within Maine’s borders, the legislation preserves Maine’s permitting system so that citizens can enjoy reciprocity with other states, according to the news release from Brakey’s office.

Only six states,Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma, allow citizens to carry concealed firearms without permission from the state.

A public hearing on the bill had not yet been scheduled.

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