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Gun bill sponsor pulls support, for now – February 28, 2018

The sponsor of a bill that would have allowed guns on school property requested the proposal be voted down in the Education Committee – a request that prompted an 11-1 vote of ought not to pass this morning.

Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, wrote a letter to the committee asking for a no vote on L.D. 1761, An Act Regarding the Prohibition on the Possession of a Firearm on School Property. It is anticipated a similar measure could be introduced next year.

The bill was opposed by the legislative committees of the Maine School Boards Association and Maine School Superintendents Association and members across the state contacted their local House and Senate members asking to keep current law that prohibits guns  – unloaded or loaded – off school grounds.

L.D. 1761 would have allowed a person to possess a firearm on school property in a motor vehicle as long as the person was dropping off or picking up a student and remains in the car, and the gun is not loaded and is in a locked container or locked firearms rack.

MSSA and MSBA testified the current prohibition of guns on school property maintains a bright line to discourage future encroachments on a law, which is not a panacea, but one step in protecting all children from what is no longer the unimaginable. Concerns also were raised that school personnel had no way of determining whether or not a gun in car was loaded.

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