130th Legislature (1st Session) Recap
Once again, we saw an array of gun-related bills introduced in Augusta. Our members played a significant role in defeating the agenda of the gun control lobby this session. These anti-gun bills were killed:
LD 805: An Act To Allow Municipalities To Prohibit Firearms at Voting Places
LD 976: An Act To Amend the Definition of "Machine Gun" To Include Bump Stock Devices
LD 999: An Act Regarding Background Checks for the Sale of Firearms (Universal Background Checks)
LD 1015: An Act To Ban Hunting with Ammunition That Contains Lead
LD 1068: An Act To Restrict Access to Weapons Pursuant to Court Order in Cases of Harassment (Red Flag Law)
LD 1454: An Act To Prohibit Untraceable and Undetectable Firearms
We even gained some ground with the passage of these pro-gun bills:
LD 635: An Act To Repeal the Requirement To Obtain a Permit before Hunting with a Noise Suppression Device. Sponsored by Senator Trey Stewart, this eliminated the requirement to obtain a permit for hunting with a suppressor.
LD 884: An Act To Restrict the Collection of Surveillance Video, Information and Data Regarding Lawful Firearm Purchases. Another bill sponsored by Senator Trey Stewart, this places restrictions on the Department of Public Safety’s ability to retain information or data concerning firearm purchases.
LD 1140: An Act To Establish a Sales Tax Exemption for the Purchase of Firearm Safety Devices. This bill, sponsored by Representative Patrick Corey, created a sales tax exemption for the purchase of firearm safety devices (safes, lockboxes, and trigger or barrel locks that are specifically designed for securing firearms). It goes into effect January 1, 2022.
Gun Owners of Maine Awards $3,000 in Grants to Promote Firearm Education & Training
To honor the memory and work of our late President, Todd Tolhurst, Gun Owners of Maine instituted the Tolhurst Grant Program. The purpose of these grants is to help provide free or reduced-cost training for new gun owners. In 2021, we awarded six grants of $500 each to Maine-based firearm instructors to help make hands-on training more accessible and affordable. A total of 55 individuals received live training with certified firearms instructors. Additionally, Androscoggin Fish & Game utilized a grant to help fund three educational events at their range, attended by a total of 178 people.
We expect to offer these grants again in 2022.
GOME Helps Get Youth Shooting Team Off the Ground in Southern Maine
Andee Reardon O'Brion from East Coast School of Safety is starting up a youth competitive shooting team in Southern Maine. Believing in the importance of teaching young people safe and responsible gun use, Gun Owners of Maine donated a Ruger 10/22 and a Ruger SR22 to help get Andee’s project off the ground. This effort was further supported by a donation of 800 rounds of .22LR ammunition from The Gun Shop, LLC in Augusta.
For The Love of Levers Fundraiser
In July, Kelly Stewart from Foothills Firearms Safety in Sumner organized and hosted a wonderful fundraising event for us. Nearly 100 people attended this Western-themed gathering that featured live music, a shooting competition, a number of prize drawings, and an ample supply of food and beverages.
Outreach & Growth
Despite many event cancelations this year, our volunteers were still able to share our mission at a number of venues:
· Gun shows in Houlton, Bangor, Topsham, Augusta, Bath, Sanford, and Wiscasset
· Emergency Preparedness Expo at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor
· United Bikers of Maine Toy Run at the Windsor Fairgrounds
Even with fewer events being held, our membership continues to grow as an increasing number of Mainers are coming to the realization that our right to keep and bear arms is precious and worth defending.