Maine Senate Passes Constitutional Carry Bill

Civil Liberties advocates have a reason to (cautiously) cheer as the Maine Senate passed L.D. 652 by a vote of 21-14, which would bring full Vermont-style Constitutional Carry to the Pine Tree State. The Portland Press Herald reports that the vote was largely – though not entirely – along party lines: three members of the party of Jackson supported the bill; two members of the party of Lincoln voted against it . . .

The bill now heads to the Maine House, which is controlled by the Democrats. Advocates of L.D. 652 seemed optimistic of its passage there, according to the Press-Herald:

David Trahan, director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a hunting and fishing group supporting the bill, said that the bill likely has enough votes to pass in the House…. [Additionally, Gov.] LePage has not explicitly said that he’ll support L.D. 652. However, he expressed support for eliminating the permit requirement in a veto message on a bill that would have strengthened the system last year.

If the bill succeeds, it would make Maine the second state in Yankee New England to have constitutional carry. Needless to say, the possibility of this driven a few people positively out of their minds. Michael Sauschuck is one of them.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, currently working as acting city manager, said the vote is disappointing.

“It’s a vote that ultimately hurts the safety of our communities,” Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck said the concealed weapons permitting process, which entails training and background checks for criminal history and mental health problems, is a common sense approach to carrying a firearm.

“If our bar is, ‘criminals aren’t following the rules anyway,’ well then we wouldn’t have any rules,” he said. “Picture a drug dealer walking down your street carrying a gun concealed and officers can’t do anything about that. That’s absolutely ludicrous.”

At the risk of repeating myself yet again, the purpose of laws in our constitutional republic is not simply to make lives easier for police and security services. Still, the argument put forth by Mr. Sauschuck is laughable in its illogic. If someone’s a drug dealer, and being a drug dealer is illegal, surely the police could then arrest the fellow on that basis alone? If the police simply suspect someone of being a drug dealer, and he’s walking down the street, carrying a firearm, and not actually bothering anyone else then yes, centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence inform us that it is only fitting and proper that “officers can’t do anything about that.”

It should come as no surprise that the self-described “Everytown for Gun Safety” organization funded by billionaire plutocrat Michael Bloomberg has been pumping money into lobbying efforts as well. How much is unknown, since “[s]tate lobbying disclosure laws only require groups to report their advocacy efforts when lobbyists make direct contact with state lawmakers” something that the plutocratic organization has apparently not done. (That we know of, anyway.)

State police Maj. Christopher Grotton, however, disagreed with Bloomberg’s lobbyists:

Grotton testified that Maine’s permit system is antiquated and that there is no consistent permitting format across the state’s more than 400 municipalities. He also said the permits were not an indicator of safety, adding that state police have rejected 0.006 percent of permit applications, on average.

“It’s easy to feel that this is a step away from safety,” Grotton said, but the permit system does not prevent a dangerous person from owning or carrying a gun. He said whether an individual openly carries a gun or hides it does not have a bearing on public safety.


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.


  1. avatar FedUp says:

    The Senate voted nearly along party lines, with RINOs roughly equal to freedom tolerating Democrats, and the Sportsman’s Alliance thinks it will pass a Dem controlled house?

    Makeup is 78 D, 68 R, 4 I, and 1 undeclared.
    Is “Independent” a political party in Maine?

    1. avatar hobbez says:

      Yes, Independent is an official party here, along with Green.

  2. avatar Paul53 says:

    Holy carp! No mandatory “bloodshed in the streets” comment? They ALWAYS predict bloodshed in the streets. In The British Colony of Massachusetts you can’t change the address on your drivers license without someone predicting bloodshed in the streets. I’m thinking the article is fake.

    1. avatar Ray says:

      The Gov may well veto and start a real fight and THEN the elites will care about what happens in flyover country.

      1. avatar Jason says:

        Lepage has already said he supports it. If it gets to his desk it will not get vetoed.

  3. avatar hobbez says:

    The hope that this will pass our house is a bit over optimistic, as downstate democrats are dyed-in-the-wool liberals who are mostly transplants from Boston. I am excited though and have my fingers crossed. I’ve had my Rep and my Senator visit my business since this law was introduced and am pleased that they are listening to what constituents are saying and pushing hard for this.

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Meanwhile, Texas can’t even get open carry to the Govs desk!

    1. avatar Paul53 says:

      Was afraid somebody would notice. With the road ahead getting shorter, the call to return to Maine gets stronger. Hope I can do it in soon.

    2. avatar Dave357 says:

      Texas will get that bill to the governor’s desk or the Republican party can disband itself there. If needs be Abbott will add it to the special session. They just seem to like prolonging the suspense.

  5. avatar B says:

    Just makes me more ashamed to be Texan. Good luck Maine!

  6. avatar Slick says:

    Is there a police chief that doesn’t make the baloney dire predictions every time they may lose some bit of power or revenue?

    I swear it is required that your head is squarely up your rear end to become a chief.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Actually, the police chief’s head is usually up the rear end of the mayor of his city, because most of them work for (and repeat the opinions of) the mayor.

      State police and sheriffs are more independent, so they usually voice their own opinions, which are usually pro-citizen and their gun rights.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        In Michigan, the director of MSP can hardly get the anti gun Governor’s penis out of her mouth long enough to say anything intelligible, but she managed to express her/his views here:

  7. avatar Kendahl says:

    Drug dealers tend to have criminal records which make them ineligible to possess firearms. If a police officer sees such and has probable cause to believe he is armed, that should be all the officer needs for a search and arrest.

  8. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    “Picture a drug dealer walking down your street carrying a gun concealed and officers can’t do anything about that. That’s absolutely ludicrous.”

    Yes, yes it is ludicrous.
    1st, if it’s concealed, you wouldn’t see it. So how would you know he had one?
    2nd, if it’s a known drug dealer, why aren’t you arresting him?
    3rd, acting city manager Sauschuck, you are obviously rising to the level of your incompetence.

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      +1. That pretty much sums it up.

      Side note: does the bill retain an optional permit, for reciprocity purposes?

      1. avatar Roger V. Tranfaglia says:

        What the bill does is let Maine residents (of age) carry concealed (only ) within the state of Maine. No licence or training required. The reciprocity CCW is still in effect, where you get the training and get licenced to carry concealed in Maine. And other states that reciprocate with Maine.

      2. avatar Amfivena says:

        The bill simply eliminates the permit requirement for people legally allowed to posses guns. The existing permit process remains intact – a mix of local and state police approval.

  9. avatar Grindstone says:

    “If our bar is, ‘criminals aren’t following the rules anyway,’ well then we wouldn’t have any rules,” he said. “Picture a drug dealer walking down your street carrying a gun concealed and officers can’t do anything about that. That’s absolutely ludicrous.”

    You’re right, that statements is absolutely ludicrous.

    1. avatar B says:

      The Police: “Imagine a place where people could just walk down the street, with a firearm on their hip, saying whatever they want, congregating with other like minded individuals and spreading their message peacefully, and not have the police able to do a thing!”

      Sounds like America to me.

  10. avatar Silver says:

    Another butthurt police chief. Freedom’s annoying for aspiring despots, isn’t it.

    As a side note, how many homeless people, disabled veterans, and impoverished communities could Bloomberg’s money have helped if it wasn’t being used to destroy freedom and erase human rights?

  11. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    What would even make anyone here think that a butt head like Bloomberg even cares about the homeless people, Disabled veterans, or impoverished communities.
    He doesn’t. None of them make 1 nickel for him.

  12. avatar SD3 says:

    “Picture a drug dealer walking down your street carrying a gun concealed and officers can’t do anything about that.”

    On the other hand, you could simply ‘legalize’ all drugs, and get out of the business of telling other people what to do with their lives, thereby solving *both* problems.

  13. avatar Sock Monkey says:

    “Picture a drug dealer walking down your street carrying a gun concealed and officers can’t do anything about that. That’s absolutely ludicrous.”

    Picture a police chief walking down your street, arresting people for exercising their basic human right to bear arms, and citizens can’t do anything about that. That’s absolutely ludicrous.

  14. avatar Shire-man says:

    There is so much wrong with that jerk-offs statement. Not only is he chief of police but also city manager? My god. Run from that city! Run and never look back!

    1. avatar bob says:

      And he’s probably not very good at either.

  15. avatar Pg2 says:

    Good news, the irony is that while Maine on 1 front moves in the right direction, it is also moving to restrict residents choices to make informed medical consent with medical procedures. Having the ability to own and carry firearms is a great thing, though it is hard to appreciate as much because when the state is moving to force medical procedures on the public without consent, it is difficult to see what meaningful rights will remain if this movements come to fruition.

  16. avatar Amfivena says:

    I am optimistic this will pass.

    Half the house are co-sponsors of record. Presumably some of the non-sponsors would vote yes or abstain. So, the numbers look good. Que Democrat procedural shenanigans in 1.2.3…

    The governor seems like he’ll sign. He is a hothead, so the only reason I foresee a veto is if someone pisses him off.

    Anecdotally, I work in Portland with very liberal co-workers. For the most part nobody cares either way. The overall feeling is mildly against lifting the permit requirements. But, it is not blood-in-the-streets type predictions. More ‘what’s the big deal about getting a permit?’. I just don’t see strong sentiments against this bill.

    Mainers hate people from MA or NY telling them what to do. Most people I talked to reacted negatively to an out-of-state acronym telling us how to think.

    I’m curious what other Mainers on this board have experienced around this bill?

    1. avatar Dave357 says:

      Some of the original sponsors may switch their vote under pressure. Or have those now opposed already withdrawn their sponsorship?

  17. avatar roadrunner says:

    Seems like they’re anticipating more massholes moving in, and getting what they can get passed before down east turns the whole state blue.

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