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LD 652 (SP 245), “An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit”  passed  the Senate, 23-12, last Friday. Yesterday, the Maine House  passed a lightly amended Constitutional Carry bill, 83-62. The House added two amendments to the bill.  “More votes are required in the Senate before the bill moves forward,” reports, “for procedural reasons and because the House adopted two amendments to the bill. One would require anyone under age 21 to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The other would require a person carrying a concealed gun to . . .

tell a police officer if they’re in possession of a weapon during a traffic stop.”

Governor Le Page has already declared that he will sign the bill. The only question: whether opponents will use the minor differences in the bill to kill it or to significantly change it in conference committee. If I were Senator Brakey, I would urge the Senate to accept the House amendments and pass the bill to Governor Le Page. Many have said that the House, with a Democrat majority, would never pass a constitutional carry bill.

The head of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, David Trahan, said that out of state money was  a factor that helped the bill pass . . . in a negative way.  Could it be that the Bloomberg money and Everytown advertising helped push constitutional carry to passage? It could!

“Maine people don’t like it when money and power coming from out of state tries to influence their decision-making,” said Trahan, who served in the Legislature for 12 years. “That was a factor.”

Maine would become the 7th state to restore constitutional carry. Vermont has always had constitutional carry. Five other states have restored the right to bear arms, both openly and concealed, without special government permission: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, and Wyoming. No additional problems have been detected in states that have embraced constitutional carry.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. At least some of those named states restrict what you are calling “constitutional carry” to their own citizens. Although an improvement over requiring papers for everyone, it’s not anything I’d call “constitutional carry” as it discriminates against people from other states (a clear violation of the Constitution, as if any 2A infringement weren’t, already).

    • Exactly. Everyone needs to stop being happy – and distracted – with these so-called “victories”.

      It’s not up to them to “permit” you to defend yourself.

      • In due time that will come. Be patient. I’m from NJ, if i stop to take a piss on my way home from the range it’s a felony with a mandatory 3.5 year jail sentence. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

        • Agree. Our freedoms have been incrementally infringed, and we know this has worked for the left over time. Incremental roll-back can work for Americans just as well as incremental infringement has worked for Progressives.

          Incidentally, regarding the backlash against Bloomberg cash in this fight, I’m glad to see some of that grand curmudgeonly “FU” spirit alive in Maine. Warms my heart.

        • Think YOU have it bad? In NYC, unlike upstate, you are limited to 200 rounds of ammo. NOT 200 for each gun but 200 total so a 550 brick of .22LR will get your permit revoked and guns melted down. One gun a month? HA!!! We’d love that in De Barfia. We get to ASK to buy one each quarter but if you try to do that they start looking into your house to see your storage methods and if they don’t like it stuff your application.


    • I need to clarify something here given some of the responses to what I wrote (and the responses to the responses). I am NOT unhappy that progress has been made in these states; I just don’t think it’s right to call it “constitutional carry” where it’s restricted to state residents.

      • I heard a recording of Massad Ayoob & he thinks it should be called permit less carry. After hearing that & his reason for doing so makes me agree with him.

    • The only state on the list that I know discrimates against non-residents is Wyoming. I have never heard of a case actually being brought there.

      I suspect that the first case brought will be ruled unconstitutional in about nothing flat.

      There is a fair amount of case law being developed on this. Perhaps some lawyers could chime in about it.

      • That’s good to know…may I suggest NOT referring to Wyoming as Constitutional Carry, then? [as an aside the above suggestion to follow Massad Ayoob and say “permitless carry” instead, is, I think, worth considering.] Even if no one has been busted for it (yet), that law is still on the books.

        At least one past version of “Constitutional Carry” in Colorado (which didn’t pass) would have basically left all the permit (Concealed Carry) baloney in place, but made being a Colorado resident over a certain age and not on the prohibited list, an exception. That would have had the same effect as Wyoming’s law.

        Why on earth they didn’t write it to simply repeal the criminal penalty for no permit (actually slimming down the law tome instead of fattening it) was never clear to me unless it was the only way to leave the permit system in place as an option for reciprocity purposes.

  2. It’s interesting that States need to argue long and hard about whether or not citizens have the right to bear arms.

    • In fairness, a lot of those states allow permitless open carry, and figure that pretty well covers the “right to bear arms”. I’m kind of surprised more folks in such states don’t avail themselves of that bit of unrestricted freedom (and maybe they do, but I certainly don’t hear about it).

  3. This is no surprise, except that it took until 2015 to accomplish. Maine has much different demographics from Texas, however. That has no bearing on the legitimacy of human rights, of course, but it matters immensely in terms of the politics and optics of firearms legislation.

    For example:
    Texas is 44% white, 38% Hispanic, and 12% black.
    Maine is 94% white, 1.4% each of Hispanic and black.

    % of population with H.S. diploma or higher: Texas 81%, Maine 91%.

    % of population foreign born: Texas 16.3%, Maine 3.4%.

    Owner occupied housing rate: Texas 63.3%, Maine 71.8%.

    Population per square mile: Texas 96.3, Maine 43.1. Even with vast swaths of a huge state sparsely populated, Texas still has more than double the density of Maine.

    Take these factors together and the denial of firearms freedom rationale becomes clear. You can get this kind of legislation through Maine’s split party controlled legislature because fundamentally, they’re all more similar to each other than dissimilar, as in Texas.

    Maine’s Dems figure most everyone is white, educated, and has a stake in the culture and community, all in addition to being more spread out from each. So why not relax restrictions? What could go wrong?

    Down in Texas? Renters and foreigners and minimal-schoolers……oh my! No way the Dems let the stupid unwashed masses exercise their rights in close proximity, not without years of electoral losses and legislative battles.

    • The only point id argue are your statistics on foreigners in Maine… we have way to many flatlanders, pilgrims and Massholes… way larger than the foreigners statistics you show 😉

      • I live for the day someone in New England unknowingly calls this Coloradoan a “flatlander” given that Mt. Washington isn’t as high an elevation as the bottom of my well, and I don’t even live in the mountains.

        • Its all relative!.. the bottom of my well is deeper than your well! We still have 30 round AR mags too (or larger)

      • You forgot us “summer people”! But that’s okay – I try for the low profile blend in look. It’s fine until I speak in my Southern drawl, then it’s “you’re not from around here, are you?”

    • Yes, I think you’re exactly right, and thanks for digging out the data. Most people think TX is still mostly rural and just a bunch of white rednecks singing the cattle to sleep every night, but it’s not.

      Congratulations to Maine, and I hope a good version finally gets signed.

    • Jonathan – Houston,

      It probably helps that Maine always has the lowest (or at least second lowest) violent crime rate in the United States.

      • Oh I agree 100%, although that fact opens up a whole chicken or the egg conversation that I wanted to sidestep. Let’s just say Texas has a higher thug population than Maine.

  4. Not to steal Maine’s thunder on this, but…WTF, TEXAS? Maine gets constitutional carry and we barely got licensed carry passed? Reminds me of a joke I read in a Cormac McCarthy book:

    Two mountain lions are walking the Texas/New Mexico border and they decide they’re going to split up, one to Texas and the other to New Mexico, to hunt the denizens of said states. After a year, they’ll meet back up and compare their successes.
    So, the year passes and the two lions meet up as agreed. The New Mexico lion looks big and healthy, while the Texas lion is scrawny and starving. “What happened to you, didn’t you catch anything?” asks the NM lion.
    “Well, yeah…”
    “Tell me what you did and I’ll see if I can help you out.”
    “Well, first, I’d hide up in a tree and wait for a Texan to ride by. Then, I’d roar real loud and scare the shit out of him. Then I’d pounce on him and knock the wind out of him. Then, I’d eat him.”
    “I see your problem right there,” says the New Mexico lion, “you scared the shit out of them and knocked all the wind out of them too. Once you do that to a Texan you’re left with nothing but boots and buckles!”

    Texas: All bluster and no muster anymore.

    • Maine does not have a handgun license requirement (just a ccw license, shall issue).. after the NICS check, you walk out the door with your handgun or rifle…. and open carry has been legal since at least when i was a kid (I’m 61).. this is a big step for us assuming it goes through.. brings laws back in line with our state constitution.. wont be illegal to put your coat on when open carrying… and believe me, we need to do that in the winter…

      • You southerners in Maine and your coats… esh! Just kidding; I know that your relatively low latitude (compared to Washington state) does not AT ALL equate to warmer local climate.

        I just wish we could get some of that “curmudgeonly” distaste for big money influence on our politics as well!

  5. “Yesterday, the Maine House passed a lightly amended Constitutional Carry bill”

    “Many have said that the House, with a Democrat majority, would never pass a constitutional carry bill.”

    And THIS is what winning looks like. The objective of the game isn’t to *defeat* the other side. The objective is to *convince* the other side we’re right, and get them to join our side.

  6. Can someone answer how those constitutional carry states apply to non-residents? For example, if someone is from out of state, are they allowed to carry once in the state or are they restricted because they are not residents?

    • Good question. We touched on that from a different angle recently. If you’re from a constitutional carry state like Vermont, so you don’t have a license, some states (Arizona, Oklahoma, Alaska) will let you carry without a license.

      If you’re from out of state, but don’t have a license (either just don’t, or your state doesn’t issue them), and visit a constitutional carry state, that gets interesting. Vermont will let anyone who can legally own a firearm carry howsoever, without a permit of any kind.

      Maine reportedly only honors permits from states that honor Maine’s (only 8 other states). I don’t see that changing now, but I don’t know.

      As always, there are a million other wrinkles to these things and they change continually. Know before you go!

      • New Hamster recognizes the permits from any state that recognizes NH’s permits.
        Currently that’s 27 other states.
        Maine, NH’s neighbor, does not recognize NH permits.
        I hope that is about to change.

  7. I am here in Maine, and was listening to a local statewide AM talk show today where Governor LePage was being interviewed live.. He said he supported the bill except for the min 24 year amendment.. HE SAID HE WOULD NOT SIGN IT Since it was a slap in the face of those below 21 that serve and die in the military to say they are excluded.. I was dumbfounded, being a proponent of incrementalism.. then again, it will become law if he doesnt sign it, as long as he doesnt VETO it.. im still hopeful, but stay tuned.. that may have been bluster to get rid of the amendments on the final senate votes, now necessary due to the amendments. Theamendments were sponsored by anti dem reps who the governor does not suffer gladly.

  8. ~Maine people don’t like it when money and power coming from out of state tries to influence their decision-making~

    Good on `em!

    I wish our State felt the same way when I-594 was passed here in Washington.

    I wonder if I can find a cabin for sale on Square Pond, ME where I used to spend Summers as a kid. It sounds like the
    place is getting their stuff together quite nicely…

    • I wish our State felt the same way when I-594 was passed here in Washington.

      Don’t take this the wrong way but: I feel your pain.

      In fact, I felt it even before you did.

  9. OKLAHOMA is CC for residents and residents of CC states. Same as Wyoming. Maine would be the 8th state.

    • Sorry, it isn’t eight, it isn’t even seven. Dean should remove WY (at the very least, I don’t know what other states fall into this category) from his list, and not even think of adding OK to it.

      That’s because it’s bogus as for people from out of state that still require a permit, to need a permit when in your state, while not doing so for the rest. You’re discriminating against those people and the effect could be severe if they are from a won’t issue area.

      It may be better than requiring a permit of absolutely everyone, but it ain’t constitutional carry.

      I will at least give OK kudos for doing something for people who cannot get a permit from their state–because their state never required one. They’re generally screwed when it comes to reciprocity.

      • Right, my point is it’s either 8 or it’s 6. People include Whyoming without including Oaklahoma and that’s BS.

  10. Good. And yet grabbers think they’re winning the culture war because the half dozen people in their little bubble of fascists think the same way they do.

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