Gun control measures heading to state ballots

  • 1 March 2016
  • NormanL
Gun control measures heading to state ballots

The gun control crowd has qualified a ballot initiative in Maine that would extend background checks to private gun sales:

The Maine Background Check Initiative, which had been in circulation since last October, asks voters to expand background checks to all gun sales or transfers between individuals who aren’t licensed to sell guns. It includes some exceptions, such as for emergency self-defense, hunting and transfers between family members. Eighty percent of Maine voters, including gun owners and law enforcement officers, support the proposal, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that works to tighten firearms laws.

Who could possibly oppose something that's supposed to increase safety and decrease potential violence? Except the aim isn't safety. It's gun control.

The initiative now will be sent to the Maine Legislature for consideration. Lawmakers can either approve the measure as is or send it to residents for a vote later this year. Some people might wonder if Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican known to be a lightning rod, can thwart the initiative or play a formal role with its future. But lawmakers can’t alter the initiative or make changes to the wording, says Kristen Muszynski, the communications director in Dunlap’s office. Typically, legislators don’t take action on citizens’ initiatives and instead the measures go straight to voters.

The campaign is led by Maine Moms Demand Action, a local coalition. Everytown, which was created by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2014, provided seed funding for the initiative.

A similar citizen-driven measure qualified for the Election Day ballot in Nevada.

We will be watching these measures carefully as November approaches.