As newly elected Governor Janet Mills and Democrat majorities in both state legislative chambers take office and begin to work on their agenda, Maine gun owners have cause for concern.
Historically, the 2nd Amendment has enjoyed strong bipartisan support from Maine people and their legislators, in large part due to Maine's sportsman heritage.
In the 1980s, a successful effort to strengthen firearm protections in the Maine State Constitution was lead by then Speaker of the House, Democrat John Martin. And in more recent history, despite divided government in 2015, Republicans and Democrats came together to expand firearm protections, making Maine the 6th Constitutional Carry state in the nation.
During this period of time, Maine has been consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Reports among the safest states in the nation. Today, Maine is ranked the #1 Safest State in America with the lowest overall violent crime rate.
But despite this long-standing bipartisan coalition, there are signs this is beginning to change. As national anti-gun interest groups (largely funded by NYC billionaire Michael Bloomberg's network) have poured millions into efforts to erode the 2nd Amendment rights of Maine people, many in the Maine Democrat Party are increasingly singing their tune.
New emails have emerged showing multiple senior Democrat lawmakers in Augusta indicating support for sweeping gun control proposals, including a ban on all hunting rifles in the state of Maine.
This past December, an individual named Brian emailed all 151 members of the Maine of Representatives asking them to support a constitutional amendment to institute a variety of new gun control measures on the Maine people, including a ban on "semi-automatic rifles," which would include every common-use hunting rifle in our state.
Representative Margaret Craven (D) of Lewiston (currently serving her 7th term in Augusta), in a "reply all" to the entire Maine House of Representatives, expressed unqualified support, indicating that she would vote "yes" on every gun control proposal listed, including the banning and confiscation of all semi-automatic rifles owned by Maine people.
Representative Lois Galgay Reckitt (D) of South Portland (currently serving her 2nd term), added that she would likely support instituting all these new gun controls on Maine people, including the banning and confiscation of semi-automatic rifles --- she just doesn't think a constitutional amendment is the right way to do it.
Representative Janice Cooper (D) of Yarmouth (currently serving her 4th term) added her full support and agreed with Rep. Reckitt that they didn't need to amend the constitution to ban and confiscate hunting rifles from Maine people.
Cooper argued that "Maine's right to bear arms constitutional provision" is "not absolute" and therefore they could pass all of these new gun control measures without a constitutional amendment.
Its bad enough that these three representatives are willing to publicly call for the confiscation of Maine people's firearms, but what's truly dangerous is Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt and Rep. Janice Cooper both sit on the legislative committee responsible for crafting Maine's gun laws, the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
This also means Representatives Reckitt and Cooper are each one of only 10 people in the entire 151 member House of Representatives who will each have a vote on the upcoming confirmation on anti-gun activist Mike Sauschuck, Janet Mills' pick for Commissioner of Public Safety.
Additionally, Rep. Reckitt serves on the Judiciary Committee, which is likely to consider so-called "Red Flag" legislation this year that seeks to abolish due process rights for Maine gun owners, allowing state government to confiscate firearms from Maine people without any notice and opportunity for a legal defense.
This is bad news, but thankfully, there at least some good news. At least one Democrat legislator was willing to express common sense and speak up for our rights..
Representative Genevieve McDonald (D) of Stonington (recently elected to her first term) stood up to her more senior colleagues and pointed out a fact that those who understand firearms know: "a semi-automatic describes nearly every hunting rifle in the state."
Freshly elected to her first term as a Democrat in the House of Representatives, Rep. McDonald doesn't have much a record to judge her by just yet, but let's hope she continues expressing and exercising support of our 2nd Amendment rights.
Common sense like this seems to be in increasingly shorter supply these days among Augusta Democrats and deserves to be applauded whenever possible.
But let's step back for a moment and ask a few questions.
First, do Representatives Craven, Reckitt and Cooper posses the basic firearm knowledge to know that, in calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles, they were calling for a ban on every hunting rifle in the State of Maine?
If so they did know this, why would they ever think this is a good idea? And if not, why do they feel qualified to write laws banning firearms they don't posses even a basic knowledge of?
We can only draw one of two conclusions about Representatives Craven, Reckitt and Cooper:
- They want to ban and confiscate hunting rifles in the State of Maine.
- They are dangerously ignorant about the basics of firearms, but feel qualified to write laws outlawing them.
Second, why would Speaker of the House Sara Gideon appoint members to the committee that oversees firearm legislation if either of these two conclusions are true?
It is becoming increasingly clear that, if our 2nd Amendment rights are to survive these next two years, we as people of Maine must become a loud and persistent voice in the halls of Augusta.