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Maine Governor Paul LePage has been getting into a bit of a tussle with the state legislature, vetoing 100 bills in this session, but on Wednesday, he signed a bill making the Pine Tree State the seventh state to adopt rules following Vermont-style permitless (or “Constitutional”) carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens . . .

The bill, known as LD 652, is very simple, but will have far-reaching effects: anyone who is not otherwise prohibited by law from carrying a firearm will now be able to legally carry a firearm without the necessity of obtaining a government-issued license ahead of time.

Supporters of the bill were jubilant.

“I am pleased the governor signed constitutional carry into law today,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn. “This legislation has been a goal for Maine supporters of the Second Amendment for nearly two decades, and it is wonderful to see this commonsense measure finally enshrined in state law.”

LD 652 had a bit of a checkered history, and for a while, it appeared that Governor LePage, a Republican, might be the biggest obstacle to its passage. In June, LePage announced that he would refuse to sign the bill because the initial draft of the bill passed by the Democrat-controlled House contained a provision restricting its application to adults 21 years of age or older, which would bar people who entered military service out of high school and had fought in conflicts overseas, according to the Bangor Daily News. “I think it’s wrong to send our kids to fight wars at 18, 19, and 20, but they can’t carry [firearms] when they come home. I’m not buying into that.”

As a result, the bill contains an amendment that carves out an exception to the age requirement for those who have chosen the military as a career and are under the age of 21. Civilians between the ages of 18 and 21 must still obtain a license, which includes both a background check and training requirement.

Although I strongly support constitutional carry, and applaud the strengthening of civil rights in Maine today, this bill is not without controversy for me. I’ve gone on record as being generally opposed to these sorts of carve-outs. The idea that people who enter military service may exercise a right between the ages of 18-20 years while the same right is denied to the other citizens in their age cohort is, at lengthy consideration, a horrible one. Either people are able to exercise the duties and rights of citizens at the age of 18, or they’re not. If so, they should be allowed to exercise all of their rights at that age. If not (and there may be an argument that 18 may be too young,) then we need to have that conversation with all of the chips on the table.

Unfortunately, it seems that an unholy alliance of Republicans who will vote for anything that makes it sounds like they “support our troops!” (or soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines,) and retreating Democrats who are desperately fighting a rearguard action to keep their losses to a minimum have a tendency to compromise on the 21 year old/18 if in the military when it comes to firearms.

Am I the only one who is concerned about this? Perhaps I oughtn’t be, but my feeling is that it’s always a good idea to be skeptical of state power, whether it comes in the form of statist politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, or special privileges for members of the standing military.


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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    • ^ Then – full-auto selectors – that’s the only way I’m pro-choice.

      ME was always Constitutional Carry in the proper laissez-faire method. Certifying it is a step sideways at best or backwards if you’re paying attention.

    • I would rather it be MO that becomes the next Constitutional Carry state, but with Jay at the helm I don’t see that happening.

  1. Am I the only one who is concerned about this?

    You aren’t the only one. I think you are right on the money.

    Great article. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. but my feeling is that it’s always a good idea to be skeptical of state power, whether it comes in the form of statist politicians, corrupt bureaucrats, or special privileges for members of the standing military.

    How about special courts for veterans? I’m opposed. Until recently, I was unaware such a thing existed.

    Hamilton County Municipal Veterans Court
    To divert veterans from the traditional criminal justice system to a treatment based court to rehabilitate and assist veterans in leading a productive and law abiding life


    • Beware progressives bearing gifts. In this case in ‘supporting the troops’ they are really dividing society in general and patriots specifically. Perhaps I’ve grown cynical, but I’m not sure progressives ever do anything with pure motives. I’m cautious of Hanlon’s law, but in the end, idiot or evil the left slowly destroys everything.

    • Well if the veterans courts in Ohio is anything like the veterans courts in Colorado, those “special privileges” include things such as reviews in front of a judge every other week, meetings with their probation officer every week(though usually more than that), and access to individuals/resources meant to address the specific needs of veterans.

      In essence, it serves as a way to place individuals with special circumstances into a “last chance” program where they are on a very short leash, but the courts attempt to provide the defendants with access to the resources that would best assist them with transitioning back into society. Failure to comply with the program resulting in being sentenced to jail/prison just like anyone else.

      From that link you posted

      “It does excuse the veteran for committing criminal offenses. Rather, the level of commitment to the judicial supervision of treatment is more stringent than traditional based probation. Veterans who fail to comply with the treatment requirements are diverted to the regular docket.”

      I would assume that the “does” in the first sentence is a typo, and that it is supposed to say “It DOESN’T excuse the veteran for committing criminal offenses.”

        • If it gave those veterans any advantage over individuals on regular probation I would agree. As it stands, I do believe that shaping supervision to meet the needs of the individual has benefits.

          There are obvious arguments in regards to fairness for approaching supervision in a cookie cutter fashion, but I’m not so sure that it’s fair to supervise someone who is completely competent the same as someone with mental health issues.

          The way I see it, these individuals get sentenced the same way as anyone else. They are then given the opportunity to voluntarily join a program that offers specialized supports that will allow them to address their problems, and where the individuals running the program understand the needs of those involved.

          To me, that seems like a better solution than throwing everyone into the same probation gauntlet. With those speciality courts, they are generally required to address those underlying issues while constantly interacting with other probationers going through the same thing (and thus building their support systems to help them in the long term) in order to reduce recidivism.

          Like I said, if I thought it gave these veterans an unfair advantage, I’d be against it too.

        • Educating attorneys and judges about available veteran’s programs is all that is required to achieve the stated goal. Again, this can be handled through mitigation during sentencing. Having a special court is, by definition, special treatment. It is wrong.

          Special laws, special courts, special juries next? Some are more equal than others.

  3. Not okay with carve outs on the ideological level.

    On the pragmatic level, if it helps to move forward the cause or prevent it from stalling, then rewarding those that served is okay with me.

    • This right here. Carve outs just lend credence to the class system that America has allowed to develop over the past few generations.

      I ALSO take issue with kids who are old enough to serve but are denied the same rights as a 21 year old who is still (generally) too cock-strong and stupid to make the same decisions your average 30 year old would make. I enlisted at 17 and couldn’t buy a pack of cigarettes, I wasn’t too young for the infantry though. If you’re old and good enough to fight and die, why shouldn’t you enjoy the same opportunity to make good/bad decisions as someone older?

      In a nutshell; special treatment = bad, equal treatment = good

    • Exactly. Carve-outs are bad, but in this case that’s outweighed by the general adoption of Constitutional carry, and maintaining the momentum on the pro-gun side.

      It’s not perfect, but it’s still an improvement.

    • That was a very tough pill to swallow. It was the difference between passing a 90% great law and waiting for next year. Don’t think for a second that work isn’t being done already to remove these restrictions. Shall notify should be remove fairly easily. The age limit and carve out will be more difficult but it wasn’t taken as a permanent concession.

      • On balance, I agree. I hope that Maine will revisit the issue in a couple of years, though….

  4. “Am I the only one who is concerned about this? ”

    Probably not, but I am okay with it.

  5. I would love to visit Maine someday.
    Too bad you can’t get there without driving through communist territory.

    • Says the guy from Illinois. Guess airplanes haven’t came out yet in the Midwest.

      Re: the carveout – the bill as a whole is a move forward and may be a good way for a court case to happen (someone under 21 sues and that carveout is ruled unconstitutional). 2 steps forward, half step back, still 1.5 steps forward.

      • Maine has airports? Who’da thunk?
        The point was that if you want to travel around this nation while exercising your God-given right to self-defense, there are still certain states where that could land you in jail.

  6. Good job, Mainesters. Congrats! Seeing freedom advance is a good way to start to the day.

  7. With New Hampshire sandwiched between Vermont and Maine, it sure would be nice if New Hampshire stopped criminalizing good people if they carry a concealed handgun without first asking permission from the state. That would be one nice chunk — corner actually — of the United States where the Constitution is in force once again.

  8. The fixation with chronological age for anything makes no sense at all. How many people under the age of 18/21 are mugged, maimed and murdered? If it is rational for anyone to carry a gun, how can they be excluded merely by age?

    Any person, of any age or condition, who cannot be trusted with a gun or is incompetent to use one, should have a guardian. Those too young to be responsible for themselves supposedly already do… parents.

    Good for Maine, as far as it goes. Next step for Wyoming carriers is to work to eliminate the stupid restrictions that still apply to CC after the “license” was revoked. None of those restrictions apply to OC, and they shouldn’t apply to any form of bearing arms.

    • That part pisses me off to no end. The author is upset that an 18 year old who can use a pistol and rifle to defend this country, yet he want’s them to not be able to carry back here? The dude probably carried for 9 months without incident apart from if they were attacked and you’re concerned that Jack whos 20 and served a tour in Iraq shouldn’t carry, but you’re okay with Frank whos 40 and lives at home in his moms basement and got into guns when he took his class a month ago should be able to? GTFOH

      • Maybe re-read the article, arsh? 🙂 The AUTHOR of this piece at TTAG did not at all advocate the carve out and explained clearly why it is a bad idea.

        I don’t see any rational reason for any chronological distinction, but that’s a separate issue. Nothing to do with military status.

  9. Maine…the way life should be. Love it. In NH its too bad Hassan answered to her party instead of her constituents. Of course, she is gearing up to battle Kelly Ayotte for the swing(?) Senate seat and has to keep the party happy because she will have to spend a metric $hit ton to do it. The saddest part is that the deposed and likely demented Harry Reid pulls the strings for NH from a casino penthouse in Vegas.

  10. Like it, no. Understand it and support it, yes.

    Would I like it if the entire country recognized the existence of the pre-existing right to carry concealed without asking for a special permit. Of course I would just like most people here would as well.

    That being said we will never make that leap so I will take any expansion as an improvement. If we have these kinds of carve outs and they are able to normalize the idea of *some* 18-20 year olds carrying which then provides data we can use to push it for all then I say this is a win.

    Sure there will be some who will argue that it will only confirm in the minds of antis that only the military and LEOs can be trusted. They already believe that and this does nothing to strengthen their position.

    Additionally, maybe… MAYBE this opens up a law suit forcing the issue on 14th amendment grounds for equal protection under the law. Granted the results of such a lawsuit may be limited but it would still me another small step forward.

    In short I will play the game of inches if I must because overtime it still gets me where I want to go.

    • In short I will play the game of inches if I must because overtime it still gets me where I want to go.

      I won’t live that long. None of us will and those who come after us will have to learn all that we have. Incrementalism will result in a diluted system of exercised privileges passed off as rights. That’s what happened to get us here. The fight isn’t just about the RKBA. It’s to big to be incrementally won by mortals. Governments have that luxury. We do not.

  11. So a sixteen year old can get a license to operate a lethal weapon called a car, but they are to immature to operate a lethal weapon called a gun?

    I was shooting a .22lr pump action rifle at 11 years old that I kept in my closet and could take out any time without needing my parents permission.

    The level of illogical and irrational “feelings” (I won’t grace it by calling it thoughts) when it comes to guns is just amazing!

  12. “he idea that people who enter military service may exercise a right between the ages of 18-20 years while the same right is denied to the other citizens in their age cohort is, at lengthy consideration, a horrible one. Either people are able to exercise the duties and rights of citizens at the age of 18, or they’re not. If so, they should be allowed to exercise all of their rights at that age. If not (and there may be an argument that 18 may be too young,) then we need to have that conversation with all of the chips on the table.”

    What a load of BS. You want a guy trained to use guns to not carry due to age, but you’re okay with Frank down the street carrying who just learned about guns the day he went to a concealed carry class? GTFOH!

    • You really ought to read before posting — you’re attacking things that weren’t said.

  13. Option to obtain cc license at 18, yes please. I wish I had that option at 18. I don’t mind the carve out, even though I had more pistol training at 10 then the guys in basic get.

  14. Carve outs in general suck, and this one follows that rule.

    The carve out came simultaneously with a big victory (constitutional carry for anyone over 21 in Maine).

    The two put together are a huge net improvement. So, I’d say be happy with what we got, but not utterly content. Work to get the other 18-21s into constitutional carry, thereby eliminating the carveout in the positive direction.

  15. Good for ME! As for those “carveouts”, you sound like someone who has never served our country. And who is smug and snotty about that fact. How does that “carveout” hurt you, other than pointing out your lack of any service? How is it your business?

    • I had to have my parents sign guardianship of me over to the government as I enlisted before I had reached the age of majority. Do I get to speak from a position of authority now?

      Carveouts are predictable class-based bullshit pushed on us by the elitist pigs in both parties and the useful idiots that vote for them. Not a single person in this world is worthy of special treatment OR my undying adoration simply because they wear/wore a uniform.

        • Thanks John, I fully expected to get flamed for my little tantrum.

          I love (and sorely miss a few of) the guys I served with and have some level of respect for those that make the choice to enlist but that doesn’t separate me, my friends, and everyone else who ever put a uniform on from the rest of the citizenry. Service; be it military, law enforcement, or the f*cking neighborhood watch doesn’t make one citizen better than the next. One cannot pass judgement on or treat differently someone who doesn’t sacrifice for others, his/her reasons are their own and they neither answer to nor owe any one of us, a damn thing.

          Preferential treatment for those who serve doesn’t make it service, it makes it a time/money expense for living and being treated the way we should all expect to live and be treated. Service is knowing you volunteered so that ALL Americans can have the opportunity to enjoy liberty.

    • Perhaps we need to revisit that debate. Between firearms and alcoholic beverages (and in a related, though not identical arena, auto insurance) it does seem that we, as a society do not think that 18 years is sufficient to have all of the rights and duties of a citizen.

      If that’s the case, it makes me wonder why we think it’s okay for an 18-year-old to vote, sign contracts, or (for that matter) join the military without parental consent.

  16. Woo Hoo! All my family is in Northern New England! I love El Paso, but the road ahead is getting mighty short. Time to move back to where I was born.

  17. If the idea behind the carveout is that the military guys have had more substantial training, then the state ought to work out a deal so that anyone who can pass basic training in the military gets the same deal. Then they can throw out the minimum age and just allow anyone who can pass basic training to carry as they please.

    • I think you miss the point. It’s a matter of respect for those who are trained and matured by the military and are willing to give their lives to protect us. Military service makes a different person out of them.

      • …for those who are trained and matured by the military

        You clearly don’t know have much experience with enlisted personnel…

      • Carve outs in law regarding a basic natural right is an inappropriate place to show respect. Doing so with a privilege might, in certain limited cases, be acceptable. This is not.

  18. In my humble opinion it’s not taking something away from 18-21 year olds. It’s saying since you submitted yourself to some serious personal discipline by serving in the Military you’ve earned something other 18-21 year olds haven’t.

    • Since when do we earn our rights as Americans? These are part of our natural rights. The constitution does not grant rights and the government can’t make you earn your rights. I completely support our military but there are other ways to submit yourself to serious personal discipline. Also what about somebody who medically cannot join the military? For some people the military just isn’t for them so should they not get the right to free speech? If you deem that you need military service or to earn one constitutional right then you have no idea how the constitution works.

    • Earn privileges? Sure. Earn rights? Nope!

      Governments don’t have rights because they aren’t alive. They only have privileges. As such, they can only confer privileges.

      18-20 year olds are held fully responsible as adults under the law. They ought to have full exercise of their rights under those same laws.

  19. “(and there may be an argument that 18 may be too young,)”
    You know there are some 18 year olds that are more responsible than you and there are some that are less. Should we take rights away from everyone until they are 50 or 60 because then they are wise and know better? At 18 people are adults. They are driving, leaving their parents homes, getting jobs, going to college, getting married, having kids, and doing many other things. Should they be denied the right to protect their family and themselves just because not all 18 year olds are responsible enough to carry? Not all 40 year olds are responsible enough to carry. Also remember when the constitution was written people were considered “men” more like when they were 15 and carried guns and hunted at 15 yet for some reason now you think an 18 year old shouldn’t be granted his constitutionally protected rights? Following the constitution a 5 year old has all the rights of a 50 year old. The constitution has no mention of rights being granted when your age group is deemed responsible.

  20. Those 18 years of age can enter freely into contracts, create debt, and are viewed as full adults in the court system. They are tried and sentenced as adults. Since they have full adult responsibility under the law, why aren’t they recognized as having full exercise of rights under the law?

  21. To everyone bitching about “carve outs.”
    If you support our second amendment rights being restored and have half a brain, suck it up and take it as a win. Our constitution is in such a tattered condition that for a blue state to make a change like this is a giant leap in the right direction. Do any of you really believe that we are going to win back this country from the socialist direction it is heading immediately? Dry your eyes and smile for a goddamn second.

    • Do any of you really believe that we are going to win back this country from the socialist direction it is heading immediately?

      We would if we had the guts to actually fight for it.

      I’ll go even further and state that if these generations old enough to understand right now do not correct the problems before they pass from this world, we will never restore true individual Liberty. It will take another revolution in another place at another time to recreate it anew. The men and women who fought a revolution to create this nation knew that.

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