A Constitutional Carry bill in the Maine State Senate shows great promise as it begins its march through the legislature. Originally sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey (R-Auburn), the bill enjoys nearly 100 co-sponsors. If passed it most assuredly will be signed by the Governor and Maine will join Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, and, surprise, Vermont in legalizing both concealed and open carry without permit. Maine enjoys strong support for the 2nd Amendment by voters across party lines.
TMCV has previously posted its support for this bill but cautioned that there was a need to make sure there was language in the bill to protect and preserve the present Concealed Carry permitting process so as to not nullify reciprocity with other States, who may not honor Constitutional Carry but still reciprocate, honor, Maine’s Concealed Carry permit. Sources close to the bill have assured TMCV that there is language in the bill that protects reciprocity for Concealed Carry permit holders and keeps the permitting process for those who need to have Concealed Carry permits honored in other States. This is important as several individuals have contacted TMCV concerned that the Constitutional Carry, if passed, would invalidate their permits making them vulnerable to arrest in States that they do business.
Before the start of this legislative session, TMCV contacted our local State Senator, Paul Davis (R-Sangerville), and passed the several concerns that had been expressed to us. Senator Davis sponsored a bill that would have worked to protect Concealed Carry reciprocity. This past weekend I spoke with Paul Davis to get an update of the different issues facing our State and, as it pertains to Constitutional Carry, he felt that, as long as reciprocity was protected, Brakey’s Constitutional Carry bill was the better bill and he was lending his full support to it, with the caveat that reciprocity must be protected.
With cautious optimism, TMCV believes that there is a good chance this bill will be passed. This sends a strong message to the rest of the Nation that the 2nd Amendment and the citizens right to self-defense resonates across party lines amongst voters even as some in the political realm persist in making it a partisan issue. Let’s Set Maine Free!
As per TMCV’s announcement last night, this morning the office of Congressman Bruce Poliquin issued a press release detailing his co-sponsorship of H.R.986. This bill is similar to Senate Bill sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn which attempts to standardize reciprocity between States which have a concealed carry permit system for firearms. With the push for constitutional carry nationwide, States and the Feds are wrestling with the complexities of State sovereignty and the impact Constitutional Carry has on reciprocity across the Country,
Maine Senator Eric Brakey has introduced a Bill to the legislature that would make Maine a Constitutional Carry State. The idea behind this measure is an idea I support. Still, this bill must be approached carefully as to avoid unintended consequences, specifically in the area of reciprocity.
To date, Maine is an Open Carry State. This means a resident of Maine may carry a firearm exposed on their person without a permit. A resident may not carry a concealed firearm in this State without a permit. Senator Brakey’s bill would eliminate the need for a permit to conceal a firearm in the State of Maine.
Reciprocity is a political and legal term, which refers to process to where States honor, uphold, and enforce laws from other States within their sovereign borders. For gun owners, it means that possessing a concealed weapons permit in Maine also means that they can carry a concealed weapon in a State that reciprocates, or honors that permit. Therein lies the rub for gun owners in the State of Maine.
If Maine simply changes to a Constitutional Carry State, legislators may unwittingly nullify reciprocity for the many concealed weapon permit holders in Maine, who use their permits in their travels to other States. This makes them vulnerable to prosecution now in States that do not reciprocate Constitutional Carry in their borders. Hopefully, Senator Brakey has addressed this in his legislation.
If not, there is a simple solution. Amend the bill so it continues to allow for the Concealed Weapon process should the resident choose to apply, thereby maintaining reciprocity with those States that honor the permit. Clearly stipulate in the language that Constitutional Carry applies only to the borders of the State of Maine and its residents by their choice.
Common Sense dictates that not all States will agree with our stance on Constitutional Carry. With John Cornyn of Texas proposing legislation that will standardize reciprocity for concealed weapon permits for all 50 States, it is important that we maintain a pathway that allows Maine residents to provide for their personal defense wherever they may travel. A measured and thoughtful approach, as always, will yield the best solution for the people of Maine. Let’s Set Maine Free!