AUGUSTA — At least three Maine lawmakers have asked Gov. Paul LePage to allow members of the Legislature to carry concealed handguns in the State House.

The move by the trio of Republican representatives followed an attack in Virginia Thursday that left one congressman critically wounded and others shaken after a gun-toting man opened fire on them during an early-morning baseball practice.

“I do not feel that legislators should be left vulnerable when at the State House,” Rep. Matt Harrington, R-Sanford, wrote to the governor in a letter he posted on his Facebook page.

Republican Richard Cebra of Naples said LePage should “end the prohibition against members of the Legislature” carrying firearms “to protect themselves.”

He suggested the governor issue an executive order that would let legislators who have concealed carry permits possess their firearms in the Capitol, where weapons are banned by state law.

If that doesn’t work, Cebra said, LePage could “deputize those members who are trained concealed carry permit holders.”

In addition to Cebra and Harrington, Rep. Lester Ordway, R-Standish, also sought LePage’s help in allowing legislators the opportunity to arm themselves. As a police officer in his regular job, Harrington already has more leeway than most lawmakers.

That would add “another level of personal protection to potentially vulnerable state officials,” Cebra wrote in a letter to LePage that he posted on Facebook.

Among the many who endorsed Harrington’s post on Facebook was Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, a strong gun rights advocate.

Weapons and ammunition are prohibited in the State House, an edict enforced by security screenings of visitors.

Exceptions are made only in rare cases for military or law enforcement personnel. Even an on-duty police officer is required to disclose possession of a weapon and allow its inspection by a Capitol Police officer who is mandated to keep a written log when one is presented.

LePage, who could not be reached for comment, doesn’t appear to have responded to the requests yet.

Letter written to Gov. Paul LePage by Rep. Richard Cebra.

Letter written to Gov. Paul LePage by Rep. Matt Harrington.


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