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article imageMaine constitutional carry bill headed to House for vote

By Alex Allen     Jun 1, 2015 in Politics
Maine could be the next state to legalize a system known as constitutional carry, which allows anyone legally able to own a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit.
Constitutional carry bills have been popping up in several state legislatures this year. The House and Senate in both Montana and West Virginia approved constitutional carry bills earlier this year but were vetoed by the governors, who are both Democrats. Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who is also a Democrat, has vowed to do the same to another similar bill that is headed to her desk after passing through the state legislature. Now, the House of Representatives in Maine gets to decide the fate of a constitutional carry bill in their own state, after it passed through a very supportive Senate.
The bill, which would allow anyone who is legally able to own a firearm to carry it concealed without a permit, got off to a good start earlier this year with nearly 100 sponsors shortly after it was introduced. Pro-gun lawmakers and activists argued that law abiding citizens should not have to obtain a permit to exercise their right to bear arms. And, while the bill did receive a lot of criticism, it finally flew through the Senate on Thursday with a 21-14 vote.
Republican Senator Eric Brakey is among those rejoicing in the bill's passage through the Senate. "I am grateful that my colleagues in the Senate support this commonsense proposal," he said in a statement released on Facebook. "Currently in Maine, you can carry a gun on your person, but once you put on a jacket that covers up that gun you're carrying illegally if you don't have a permit. It just doesn't make sense."
Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, also a Republican, was equally excited. "This is a great day for the Second Amendment and a great day for Mainers," he said. "Maine has a strong and proud tradition of supporting the right to bear arms. Passage of Constitutional Carry cements and protects that right."
The bill could have more trouble in the House, where Democrats are in charge, as opposed to the Republican controlled Senate. Still, the bill has received bipartisan support. Unlike in other states who have attempted to pass constitutional carry bills this year, the governor of Maine is also a Republican and would be more likely to sign the bill into law if it reached his desk.
Kansas passed a constitutional carry bill earlier this year and has thus far been the only state to successfully pass such a law in 2015. Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, and Wyoming also have constitutional carry laws in place. The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action is urging those in Maine to call their state representative to voice their support for this legislation, which they say is "critical."
More about Constitutional Carry, concealed carry, Gun laws, Gun rights
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