According to the Portland Press Herald, Maine legislators amended the pending Constitutional Carry bill, LD 652/SP 245, to include persons aged 18 to 20 years old, provided they were either active duty military or honorably discharged from military service. Speaking to Bangor radio station WVOM, Maine Governor Paul LePage had earlier stated that he would not sign the pending legislation after the House hand amended it to exclude persons under the age of 21 . . .
“I think it’s inappropriate, and I think it’s wrong, to send our kids over to fight wars when they’re 18, 19 and 20 (years old) and they can’t carry (a concealed handgun) when they come home. I’m not buying into that.”
Under current Maine law, the minimum age to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun is 18.
We will have to see if this is sufficient for the Governor to sign the bill.
Predicating the exercise of fundamental civil rights for American citizens on military service is a terrible idea. Amending the bill in this manner essentially relegates Maine residents aged 18 to 20 to the status of second-class citizens, undeserving of civil rights available to other citizens who chose a different career path. Wrapping it up in syrupy “thank you for your service!” rhetoric doesn’t make it any better. These kinds of exemptions for politically-favored in-groups are corrosive to our form of government.
This doesn’t mean I oppose the bill–the damage done here isn’t enough to convince me to do that, and better 5/6ths of a loaf than 4/6ths, after all. It’s just healthier to have a clean, clear law on civil rights that applies evenly to all citizens.
Will this be enough to convince the Governor to sign the bill? Stay tuned for more developments.
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.