Lawmakers in Maine are currently debating a bill that could make the Pine Tree State one of only seven states that allow citizens to carry concealed without a permit.
The Senate and House of Representatives have both approved the measure initially. Additions to the bill state that it will apply only to gun owners over 21. Another amendment states that, in the event of a traffic stop, anyone carrying concealed must inform law enforcement that they they are doing so.
The bill still endures serious debate despite the approval from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. After additional votes it will make its way to the governor’s desk.
People who oppose the bill claim that doing away with permits will also take away law enforcement’s ability to conduct background checks on handgun owners. In Maine, permit requests can be denied due to past offenses like possession of drugs or drunk driving.
Advocates of the bill say concealed carry permits violate people’s right to privacy. They say it puts unnecessary limitations on honest citizens’ ability to carry concealed for protection. Maine currently allows open carry of handguns without a permit, so if this legislation is not passed it would target responsible citizens merely for covering their handgun.
They say that criminals are going to commit crimes whether they have a permit or not. The bill would not eliminate permits altogether, but would make them instead voluntary.
No matter what side of the debate you’re on, it’s still vital that anyone who carries concealed receive education and safety training.
Ultimately, safe and responsible concealed carry is the responsibility of the gun owner. Gun owners should take it upon themselves to practice safe and secure carry .
Stay informed of your local and state laws regarding concealed carry. Take time to regularly practice firing drills and tweak your sighting and stance. Responsible concealed carry doesn’t stop when you get a permit, it’s a lifelong commitment.