One of the best reasons to show up at the polls on election day, November 8, in Maine is the opportunity to vote against Question 3, which would require the so-called Universal Background Check (UBC) for most transfers of firearms between private individuals.

There are multiple arguments advanced by proponents and opponents of this question with all of its confusing provisos. We just don’t need it in Maine. The armed crazies who commit mass murder and mayhem in schools and night clubs don’t adhere to laws. The UBC simply makes life more expensive and complicated for law-abiding citizens.

For example, if my neighbor wants to borrow my shotgun for some October bird hunting, under this proposed law both of us would have to go to a licensed firearms dealer. My neighbor would be subjected to a National Background Check and charged a fee by the dealer. Then, when it is time to return my shotgun, I would have to go back to the firearms dealer, go through a background check and pay an additional fee to the dealer.

Although it received scant media attention, the Maine Warden Service recently put out a press release pointing out that the law would be “difficult — if not impossible — to enforce.” Here is an excerpt from that press release that you probably have yet to hear about:

The Maine Warden Service, the law enforcement bureau of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, is concerned that Question 3, if approved by the voters, will have negative impacts on some individuals who hunt and trap in Maine. Most importantly, this ballot question is written in such a way that it will be difficult — if not impossible — for Wardens to enforce.

Question 3 will require background checks for firearms sales and transfers and includes criminal penalties for those who do not follow the new law. It could make criminals out of responsible firearm owners. For example, the law will make it far more difficult for two hunters who have no criminal records and are legally entitled by law to possess firearms to share or loan their firearms to other legal hunters who are not prohibited from possessing firearms.

The Warden Service also has concerns about the enforcement of Question 3. It would be difficult for a law enforcement officer to prove actual ownership and where the transfer occurred unless the transfer was actually observed by the officer. A routine interaction with a hunter would not generate that line of questioning unless there was reasonable suspicion that an illegal transfer had taken place.

Maine is well-known for its hunting and trapping opportunities. These sports create jobs for Maine citizens and attract enthusiasts from around the world. The Maine Warden Service encourages Maine citizens to carefully consider the effects that Questions 3 will have on our outdoor heritage.

Question 3 really did not originate as a homegrown, grass-roots movement. It was forced upon us, driven down our throats by outside Big Money and Big Power just like the bear referendum and the national monument

Maine hunters who care about their right to bear arms know that UBC is a stepping stone to national gun registration. Maine citizens and sportsmen who value their personal freedoms and Maine’s outdoor heritage — whether they hunt or not — will vote no on Question 3.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide and host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books. Online purchase information is available at www.maineoutdoorpublications.com.


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