Skip to comments.Assault-weapons ban needless, owners say (Maine)
Posted on 05/03/2005 6:56:20 AM PDT by Fido969
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Assault-weapons ban needless, owners say
By PAUL CARRIER, Portland Press Herald Writer
Copyright © 2005 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc. E-mail this story to a friend
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Assault Weapons Ban Legislators are considering an assault weapons ban for Maine similar to the federal ban that expired recently. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association, Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence and Maine Million Mom March against violence are among the groups supporting the legislation. The Maine Gun Owners Association and other gun rights advocates in the Legislature oppose it. Does Maine need an assault weapons ban? Yes No Undecided
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AUGUSTA Gun owners turned out in large numbers Monday to condemn a bill in the Legislature that would make it illegal to own, transfer or manufacture so-called assault weapons, as well as .50-caliber rifles and ammunition. Opponents attacked the bill as unnecessary during a committee hearing, saying there is no evidence that such semiautomatic weapons have been used to commit a crime in Maine in more than 60 years, so there is no need for "gun grabbers" to try to outlaw them now.
Backers of the ban said the weapons are designed to kill a lot of people quickly by spraying them with gunfire, so they threaten both the public and the police. They said the ban is designed to avert acts of mass murder in the future, not to crack down on an existing problem in Maine.
Dozens of the 80 or so people who crammed the hearing room wore stickers opposing gun control, and the 22 people who testified against the bill over the course of several hours far outnumbered the handful of people who spoke for it.
The bill is designed to replace an expired federal ban on the manufacture of assault weapons, but it is more sweeping than the federal ban was.
"I try to get on the side of trying to prevent problems before they occur," Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, the bill's sponsor, told the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Other supporters noted that such weapons were used during the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado and in several high-profile murders in other states.
The bill's definition of assault weapons includes a long list of specific weapons, such as the AK-47, Uzi, Beretta AR-70, Colt AR-15 and other rifles, as well as various pistols, shotguns and other guns. The definition also includes semi-automatic weapons that meet specific criteria, such as those with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition or those with a detachable magazine and a folding stock.
While supporters of the ban questioned the need for such weapons, opponents said some of the weapons that would be outlawed are used in competitive shooting. Critics also said the Maine Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, without requiring that owners justify their need to own specific types of weapons.
Strimling said the bill faces such stiff opposition that the Legislature probably will not pass it, but that did not prevent him from proposing a series of changes Monday that would water it down. Even those changes were not enough to retain the support of Rep. Patricia Blanchette, D-Bangor, a co-sponsor of the bill who announced during the hearing that she now opposes it.
Blanchette, who co-chairs the committee that is considering the bill, pointedly told Strimling: "You want to put a law into effect for a crime and problem that doesn't exist."
Several other members of the panel also were openly skeptical as they questioned witnesses Monday. The committee plans to take a position on the bill Thursday, and then send its recommendation to the full Legislature.
Strimling's proposed changes would allow gun owners to retain outlawed weapons if they own them before the ban takes effect. The changes also would grandfather any Maine company that makes such weapons for the military or for law enforcement.
Bushmaster Firearms of Windham sent a letter to the committee last week saying the bill "would require Bushmaster to move out of Maine immediately." Richard Dyke, Bushmaster's chairman, said in the letter that the state would then lose the taxes on $60 million in annual sales, the annual payroll of more than $7 million for 91 employees and nearly $34,000 in property taxes.
Strimling said he wants to exempt gun manufacturers who serve the military and the police because he wants to protect Bushmaster. He said it was his intention all along to exempt any legally owned guns that owners acquire before the ban takes effect.
Strimling told the committee that 37 assault weapons were found at crime scenes in Maine from 1995 through 2000, but he said in an interview he does not know if any of them was used in committing a crime.
"We believe passage of this legislation will make the streets of Maine safer for our citizens," said Steven Giorgetti of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, one of about six people who testified in favor of the bill. Giorgetti offered no statistics on the use of such guns in Maine.
Gun owner Barry Sturk of Waterville, who opposed the bill, told the committee such weapons have not been used to commit a crime in Maine since 1937.
The bill "would serve no useful purpose towards the improvement of public safety," said Jeff Weinstein of the Maine Gun Owners Association.
Moreover, the ban "would kill an entire sport," said David Fortier of Stockton Springs, who uses an AR-15 rifle, which would be outlawed, during shooting competitions.
Staff Writer Paul Carrier can be contacted at 622-7511 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Weapons grade freeped it
I'm not picturing Maine going for it.
You can "believe" it all you want. It does not make it a reality or your idiot gun ban Constitutional.
37 weapons were found at crime scenes meaning that when the police arrested some one a weapon was found. Not that they were used 37 times. A nice play on words for a lieing SOB.
I wonder if I can arrange a field trip there for my grandson's preschool. That would make his Marine dad happy and drive the libs here nuts.
Makes me sick to think these arseholes are in positions of influence and power.
LOL, so this is funny. ME is one of the safest places on earth (right behind NH and VT). What are the liberals thinking of? I think its more along the lines of tyranny than public safety.
Q: What is the defn of an assault weapon?
A: Anything the liberals want it to be.
Portland is a cartoon - that city went about 72% for Skerry. That's Strimling's district.
"Bushmaster Firearms of Windham sent a letter to the committee last week saying the bill "would require Bushmaster to move out of Maine immediately." Richard Dyke, Bushmaster's chairman, said in the letter that the state would then lose the taxes on $60 million in annual sales, the annual payroll of more than $7 million for 91 employees and nearly $34,000 in property taxes. "
Now the gun makers begin to wake up.
BM wouldnt have too far to move as NH would be the perfect location.
That would work... the nice thing is that if the bill becomes law, it will hurt the pocket books of that state. I'd be thrilled if Bushmaster refused to sell to any agency in that state as well.
Ah yes, MA the state that keeps on giving. NH seems to have dodged the plight of We Know Whats Best For You Liberals Migrating North....at least so far. Perhaps there are still enough right thinking folks there to balance the goblin under every bed phobia of the liberals. I think ME is pretty set too. This time around it won't get much traction. The liberals will need some high profile incident to whip the populace into the required panic to give away their precious rights.
It would be far better if they just moved to NH. However, I suspect the ME liberals just aren't going to get the necessary traction to get this one past...at least not this time.
Sadly, I think BM couldn't exist as a company by selective sales. Think of the irony of it though. Liberal govts that deny the citizen's RIGHT to own guns not able to buy guns themselves. It just gives me goose bumps of delight thinking about it!! :)
LOL... well, Ronnie Barrett's thinking seems to be spreading quite a bit. Now all we need is for the ammo manufacturers to do the same in California. Let the cops have to go to Nevada and pay retail for their ammo.
That brings up a good point... does the bill in Cali take into account over the border trips for ammo from neighboring free states?
Yes it seems to be...slowly. The tough part of all this is that the guys on the line are getting poked in the eye rather than the dull bunch in the legislature. I think bringing the pain home really is whats needed. For instance...legislators will have to endure EXACTLY the same procedures and laws as everyone else...no special favors or dispensations. Laws creating special classes really stink for those left out. As a side note notice the liberals only talk about disenfranchisment in a narrow context that suits their agenda. Why should I depend on the state for my protection? I believe most police feel the same way and really don't want to be involved w/ the community in that way. Those Ive talked to really prefer the populace be well armed.