A vote on LD 1761, which would allow people to carry guns in their vehicles on school grounds, could come as early as TUESDAY. UPDATE: The bill was voted down in the House, and is now DEAD. Great work, everyone!
UPDATE 3/20: The House voted “OUGHT NOT TO PASS”, and the bill is now effectively dead! LD 1761, sponsored by Rep. John Martin (D-Eagle Lake) and Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) would allow people to have firearms in their cars on school grounds when they are dropping off or picking up a student, as long as they remain in their vehicle and the gun is unloaded and in a locked container or gun rack. The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act prohibits guns within 1,000 feet of a school. LD 1761 takes advantage of a loophole in the federal law that allows states to enact legislation permitting licensed gun owners to have guns in their cars. A similar bill—which was supported by the National Rifle Association—was voted down by the Legislature. A public hearing on LD 1761 was held Jan. 24 before the Committee on Education and Cultural Affaris, with the majority of those testifying opposed to the bill, including the Maine Principals Association, Maine School Boards Association, and the Maine School Superintendents Association. The Maine Education Association is also opposed. A rally at the State House March 1 organized by Maine Gun Safety Coalition drew hundreds who spoke out against the bill, including a group of teens from Camden. Amid pressure from advocacy groups and individual citizens, Rep. Martin asked the committee at a work session on Wednesday to kill the bill, which requires a unanimous approval to advance to a floor vote. Rep. Beth Turner (R-District 141) was the only committee member to vote in favor of the bill. The House could vote on LD 1761 as early as TUESDAY.
- Tell your legislators to vote NO on LD 1761. Call the House at 1-800-423-2900 and the Senate at 1-800-423-6900 and leave messages for your senator and representative with your name, town, and that you want them to vote NO on LD 1761. Not sure who your legislators are? Find them here.
- Show up at events and protests related to gun violence prevention. Find all of them on our Gun Violence Prevention Event List.
- Join the #boycottNRA effort and let companies who support and oppose the NRA how you feel. See our Call to Action for more info.
ARM YOURSELF…WITH FACTS!
Here are some easy rebuttals to common arguments against sensible gun legislation. Find our complete list HERE.
Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun
THE FACTS ARE:
- Actually, bad guys with guns stop the most bad guys with guns. 42% of mass shooters kill themselves before they are apprehended. Armed law enforcement kill 10% of mass shooters. (Everytown Research)
- States with “right to carry” laws have a 13-15% higher violent crime rate than states without RTC laws. (2017, Stanford University)
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had a “good guy with a gun”. He did not engage the shooter, nor did the other armed officers who arrived on the scene while the shooting was taking place.
Arming teachers will stop school shootings
THE FACTS ARE:
- Unarmed civilians are actually more effective than armed civilians. Civilians without guns stopped 13% of mass shooters, while armed civilians have only stopped 3%. (FBI Report)
- Stopping a mass shooter is hard, even for those trained to do it. Nearly half of law enforcement officers who engaged an active shooter were killed or wounded. (FBI statistics)
- Simulations have demonstrated that most people placed in an active shooter situation while armed will not be able to stop the situation, and are likely to get themselves killed or kill fellow civilians in the process.
- Adding armed civilians to an active shooter situation will make it harder for law enforcement to identify the criminal. Teachers could be accidentally targeted by officers.
- Humans make mistakes. Teachers’ guns have accidentally discharged, been left in bathrooms, have fallen out of school refrigerators, and have ended up in students’ hands.
This is a mental health problem
THE FACTS ARE:
- Only about 4% of violent crime is caused by people with dangerous mental illnesses, and only 22% of mass shootings are caused by those with mental illness.
- The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and even the majority of those with severe mental illness are not violent. (NIH Study)
- People with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence, including by police.
- Since most gun deaths are suicides, better mental health treatment and gun control are both effective at combating that problem. Legislators should increase funding for school counselors and find a way to make mental health treatment and more affordable and accessible for children and families.
Mainers said they didn’t want increased background checks when they rejected the 2016 ballot initiative
THE FACTS ARE:
- 80% of Maine residents and 78% of Maine gun owners support universal background checks.
- Policies that close background check loopholes are considered to be one of the most effective ways to reduce mass shootings (after banning assault and semi-automatic weapons, banning high capacity clips, and barring sales to violent criminals).
- Republicans only selectively respect the will of Maine voters. Governor LePage and Republican legislators in Augusta have worked tirelessly to roll back or undermine voter-approved laws to fully funded public schools, expand Medicaid, increase the minimum wage, establish ranked choice voting, and legalize marijuana.
Background checks only punish law-abiding citizens because criminals will still find a way to get guns
THE FACTS ARE:
- Background checks have stopped 3 million gun sales to people with a criminal record. (Everytown Research)
- Background checks are not inconvenient. 98% of Mainers live within 10 miles of a licensed gun dealer. We have more licensed gun dealers than post offices! (Everytown Research)
- States that require background checks for all handgun sales have lowered their handgun death rates by 46% for women killed by intimate partners and 48% for law enforcement killed. Gun trafficking was reduced by 48%. (Everytown Research)
- 34% of mass shooters should have been prohibited from buying guns. Violent criminals, stalkers, suspected terrorists and those diagnosed with dangerous mental illnesses can skirt background checks by buying guns privately, online, or at gun shows.(Everytown for Gun Safety)
Maine already has enough gun laws
THE FACTS ARE:
- 22% of people who failed background checks at licensed gun dealers in Maine failed because of domestic violence convictions–that’s nearly double the national average. And because Maine doesn’t require background checks on private or online sales, domestic abusers can still easily buy guns in Maine. (Everytown Research)
- Maine law does not require domestic abusers to turn over their guns at the scene of a domestic violence incident.
- Maine’s law blocking a person convicted of domestic violence from buying a gun is only temporary (5 years) and doesn’t apply to abusers who were only dating their victims.
- Our lax gun laws make Maine a favored location for criminals to acquire guns. 18% of handguns found at Boston crime scenes were bought in Maine. (Maine Gun Safety Coalition)