Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Source: Wikipedia.

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.

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42 Responses to Maine Legislature Carves-Out Military Exemption for Const’l Carry Bill

  1. Predicating the exercise of fundamental civil rights for American citizens on military service is a terrible idea.

    I think that bennies for service is a good idea (GI Bill, VA Loans etc.), but when it comes to fundamental rights, service cannot be a prerequisite. Fundamental rights aren’t earned. That’s just not the way that fundamental rights work in this country.

    If 18 year olds are deemed mature enough to carry concealed in ME with a permit, they ought to be deemed mature enough to carry concealed without one.

    • “If 18 year olds are deemed mature enough to carry concealed in ME with a permit, they ought to be deemed mature enough to carry concealed without one.”

      This. x eleventybillion

      • Maybe.

        I can see value in requiring the oversight of a permit for a specific age bracket. We see the same for driving, where you can obtain a permit at a younger age and then progress to a license or just wait until you are older and go straight to the license. Much like a license, there are plenty of exceptions who could reasonably get a full license at the younger age, but there is a benefit to the increased maturity that comes with controlled practice.

        Of course, driving is a privilege and bearing arms is a right.

        • Driving is not a freaking privilege. The courts have ruled the right to travel in the conveyance of the time is a right.

        • You want to travel in the conveyance of the time? Find someone to drive, hire a taxi, take a bus or subway, catch a train or flight. Losing your license, which you had to show a level of competence to obtain, because you’re too dumb not to drive drunk or can’t stop speeding is the loss of a privilege. Restricting purchase of a gun to those who have a permit to do so, leaving battered women (or men) to die, is an unreasonable restriction of a right.

  2. As a Mainer, I very much doubt he will sign this, unless it were absolutely impossible to get the age moved down to 18. LePage is not known for compromise, for better or worse.

      • LePage will absolutely sign it. The recommendation to mitigate the House Democrat’s amendment excluding 18-20 year olds came directly from the Governors office. I certainly don’t like the exclusion of any adult but it simply wouldn’t have passed both houses otherwise. The restrictions will be challenged again later.

  3. Being 18-20 sucks. ‘Responsible’ enough to buy long guns, smoke, serve in the military, but not enough to buy handguns for self defense.

    • Note: You can join the military at 17 with parental/gardian consent. Another example, there are emancipated minors at the age of 15 in some places. They need the ability of self defense, if needed.

      • He did.

        Alas that exact line is from the movie, which flushed most of the ideas, and almost all their context, right down the toilet. I’d never have understood that line if I hadn’t read the book first.

        • Agreed. The movie was crap. The book made it clear, among other things, military service wasn’t the only means to obtain citizenship and the privilege to run for office. For everyone that could not do military service due to mental or physical limitations, there were alternative means to serve society in a meaningful manner.

      • …chose a different career path. Wrapping it up in syrupy “thank you for your service!” … Wow, The doing away with the draft has caused a deep rift of understanding between military and non military people in this once united States. Putting your A$$ on the line for 4 years or 30 years deserves some _honest_ respect from the citizens of this country.

        Agreed, Heinlein was right!

        • For a good long while, you could put in your four years and never do more than drill. Even now, you could spend four years piloting a UAV from the comfort of an air conditioned building. Contrast that with the po-po and firemen (especially the latter) who are sure to be in harms way. You also discount the value of anybody who would be medically unqualified to enlist.

          Honorable service is honorable, but it isn’t the only activity meriting respect. No animal should be more equal.

          I see what you are trying to say, but in the end you serve because you can and you think it’s the right thing to do, not because of some ancillary benefit or to be respected.

          To me, today, I’d be hard pressed to serve. Too many decision-makers throw away too many lives to protect and project their power and not to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

        • Agree completely with what Katy said… And I’m coming from the perspective of a national guard member, police officer, and firefighter.

  4. I’m a hard-liner by nature, but I’d take this as ‘better than existing law’, and lobby for the non “only ones” teens to get their rights later.

    Or sign this now, and let the legislature know that the budget which includes their payroll won’t get signed unless a fix to the carry bill is included in it.

  5. While this tentative change to Maine’s laws is not perfect, it is really good. Once again we must not let perfect be the enemy of good. Moving to Constitutional carry (both concealed and open) in any state is a good thing — even if the minimum age is 21. Of course age 18 would be better. Again, major progress is major progress. Why refuse it?

  6. Hell, I was 17 when I enlisted. Uncle wouldn’t let me buy a rifle or shotgun, let alone pistol at that age but they gave me giggle switch equipped weapons and explosive devices. Couldn’t legally buy a beer. I understand the frustration of the tween crowd. Too old to be a kid and not old enough to be an adult.

    While this would be a win, I would prefer it to cover all legal adults. Fundamental civil rights should be open to all.

    And living in CA has brought a lot of the memories of rights violations of my youth back. To qoute Yankee Marshal, “I’m a grown ass man, dammit.”

    • According to Obama your a child until 26, hope the “well intentioned” don’t increase the drinking age, smoking age, adult store age etc.

  7. This substantiates what I wrote about Maine last week, that they aren’t so much pro-2A, as they are pro-guns-for-people-we-like-or-who-look-like-us. That much of the sparsely populated, near universally white state falls into this category, only gives the illusion of their being pro-2A.

    • That’s odd, I just re-read the language of the bill and I don’t see anywhere that it says “unless your Black or Hispanic” Seems to me that this law applies to all Mainers of age. Perhaps you could expand a bit more on how this bill proves that neither myself, nor my neighbors, support the Second Amendment.

  8. The only issue I have with the “18 can fight wars overseas but can’t carry” argument (and I was one) is that when teens are in the military with issue firearms they’re also closely supervised by non-coms and E6/7/8s.

    No such supervision occurs in civilian life. I don’t think I was mature enough to CC at age eighteen. But maybe that’s just me.

    • I was, I lived in a rural area and had a 22 on my ATV since I was 14. At 18 I could have carried and not a damn thing would have happened.

    • Also when I was in the Marines there was plenty of times where the highest ranking person in charge was an E3 and we never shot each other. The problem is we have regressed in our society to treating 18 year olds like kids and not giving them the opportunity to be adults.

    • Not true. It is routine to have an armed sentry or gun captain who is 20 or below. They are not only armed, but entrusted to exercise rules of engagement, which are often hardly clear and leave a lot to judgement. We ask these young Americans to determine the single most difficult judegement…hostile intent, in environments which frequently have implications at a national level.

      I don’t believe in privilege, but as long as we have to play games about age, I’m okay with allowing active duty and vets to be given exception.

  9. Gotta love that gun nut hypocrisy.

    Censoring free speech while protecting your outdated right to murder.

    I’ll think I’ll try to report this site for extremist behavior since this is what it is.

    • Murder is illegal, tubesteak. As for extremist behavior, turn yourself in. You’re actively engaged in trying to suppress civil rights. You want women helpless against their attackers. Might you be one of those attackers?

      Are you klan? American nazi? Or berkely indoctrinated? All are groups that are also trying to suppress the civil rights of Americans.

    • There’s no such thing as free speech in a private forum, meat sandwich, same way as your gun rights can be restricted by the owner of someone else’s private home.

      Reread our Constitution, but if your comprehension doesn’t go beyond pop-up books, that’s something I can’t help you with.

    • oooooohhhh….report the site…. I’m sure everyone here is absolutely trembling….something like this might go on our permanent record.

      You’ve done your daily troll duty…but it’s time to go upstairs now. A little time out of Mom’s basement will do you some good.

        • Posting here is already on the permanent record…but it won’t be because of vienna sauage’s trolling…

  10. Dear JWM, Please do not feed the trolls. They are on a strict diet of stupid soup. Thank You.

  11. The age related maturity issue is strictly one of society’s morals and values. Once was a time we considered our sons of age at 16. Now we restrict those really “dangerous” activities to 21 because our society does not value, teach, and promote moral maturity. This is just another form of the progressive and liberal agenda which devalues personal responsibility and promotes dependence. I am very surprised that this hasn’t become a Constitutional issue in the courts. To allow one to vote at 18 yet hold back full citizenship until 21 is ethically and morally corrupt and a sad statement of our society’s downfall.

  12. Not familiar with maine’s process, if the governor doesn’t sign the bill, when does it become law. And whether or not he signs it when does it take affect. I ask because I’m going to maine this summer and I’m wondering if I’ll be legally carrying or not.

    • The law takes effect 90 days after the close of the legislative session, which I believe is June 15, so middle of September.

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