PARIS – Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant said he does not support a ballot question asking residents if they wish to require mandatory background checks prior to private gun sales or transfer of guns in most instances.

Gallant said in a news release Tuesday that people have begun emailing him, “concerned because they read some media-type release that I am in favor of Question 3.”

Question 3 asks whether residents wish to expand mandatory background checks to private gun sales or transfers, with some exceptions.

Gallant said he is unsure of what media release the emails are referring to, and that he has “never publicly nor in any type of committee voiced or supported Question 3.”

“In the beginning of the conversations regarding background checks for the sale of firearms, it sounded like the right thing to do,” Gallant wrote. “(However), when Question 3 was printed and came out in its entirety, I began to think about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Maine Constitution, and Maine’s long history of gun ownership and family traditions.

“Question 3 goes beyond background checks for the sale of firearms,” Gallant wrote, and that “in any occurrence in which a person furnishes, gives, lends or otherwise provides a firearm,” both parties involved with the transfer become subject to mandatory background checks.

“If we want a law that addresses criminals and others that should not be in possession of firearms, let’s craft a bill that addresses those issues, and not create a hardship at the expense of all the good citizens in our state who are law-abiding hunters, sportsmen, protectors of property, and responsible gun owners,” Gallant wrote. “I cannot support Question 3.”

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