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Maine Lawmakers Introduce Measures to Strengthen Gun Safety Laws; Volunteers with Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action Respond

February 28, 2024

AUGUSTA, ME – Today, the Maine chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement applauding House and Senate lawmakers for introducing measures that would strengthen gun safety across the state including the instatement of a waiting period between the purchase and transfer of a firearm, a ban on devices that enable semiautomatic firearms to work as machine guns, and create an Office of Violence Prevention. The introduction of today’s bills builds on a proposal from Governor Janet Mills last week to address gun violence.  

“Maine has been in desperate need of stronger gun safety laws to keep our communities safe and we’re grateful to our lawmakers for introducing these bills today as a first step to addressing this crisis,” said Kathleen Mcfadden, a volunteer with the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As the devastating mass shooting in Lewiston last fall made clear to us, our state has lacked many necessary pieces of gun violence prevention legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of someone who could be a danger to themselves and others. We are hopeful that we can build on this progress and that stronger gun violence prevention legislation will no longer be out of reach in Maine.” 

The measures introduced in the Maine Senate today include a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase and transfer of a firearm (LD 2238) and a prohibition on the future sale, purchase and transfer of bump stocks, auto sears and other devices whose sole purpose is to enable semiautomatic firearms to fire like machine guns. The Maine House also introduced an omnibus bill to create an Office of Violence Prevention to fund and coordinate trauma-informed violence intervention efforts and educate the public on responsible gun ownership (LD 2237). It would also fund and expand several different suicide prevention approaches, including 988 lines and mobile crisis intervention units.  

Compared to many other New England states, Maine lags behind on gun safety legislation and currently ranks 25th in the country for the strength of its gun laws. Maine legislators are introducing these bills today following a particularly devastating year of gun violence across the state with preventable mass shootings in Lewiston and Bowdoin and a rapidly increasing firearm suicide rate. Research demonstrates that in states where elected officials have taken action to pass gun safety laws, fewer people die by gun violence, making it critical that lawmakers enact these measures to save lives. 

In an average year, 163 people die by guns in Maine. With a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, Maine has the 39th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. More information about gun violence in Maine is available here

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