Maine just became the ninth state to ban future gun registration. Governor Paul LePage signed the bill to ban firearms registry on Monday. This means that it will be illegal to keep a list of privately owned firearms and or gun owners.
Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windam stated, “In the United States a hallmark of how we exercise our rights is that it can be done anonymously. This is especially true for people who may hold unpopular opinions and beliefs, and let’s face it, gun ownership is unpopular with some people. This is as true for the Second Amendment as the First and for good reason.”
The measure signed this week without comment, LD 9, passed the Maine House 122-24 and the Senate 35-0 earlier this month.
Windam’s measure, now public law, bans any state agency or local government from maintaining a registry of privately owned guns or list of those who own them. Only Hawaii and Washington D.C. currently have mandatory registries of all resident law-abiding gun owners.
Gun control groups argued the legislation could have unintended consequences due to its broad language, with the Maine Gun Safety Coalition saying it would make it difficult for police to “track stolen guns, comply with court orders, and accept the voluntary surrender of a firearm by its owner.”
The Maine Sheriffs’ Association pointed out in testimony to lawmakers that 13 sheriffs in the state were in opposition to the Bloomberg-sponsored background check ballot initiative, Question 3, that was rejected by voters.
MSA president, Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant added, “One of the reasons was that many of us believed the referendum was a precursor to a gun registry, which we believe threatens our federal and state constitutions.”
The bill was supported by Second Amendment groups including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine as well as the National Rifle Association, with the latter pointing out that federal law prohibits a universal national gun registry, in additon to eight states that ban local-level gun registries as well.
LePage stated, “The only way to enforce this kind of law is through a universal firearm registration system,” he continued, “And make no mistake—Bloomberg’s proposal is the first step toward mandatory gun registration.”