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Anti-Gun Legislators Hold Illegal, Closed Door Meeting with the ATF

21 Mar 2024 6:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

GOME President Laura Whitcomb discusses closed-door meeting on GHRT: Listen Here

Maine PBN: Maine Democrats meet privately with ATF official as work continues on gun safety proposals

Portland Press Herald: Maine Democrats meet privately with ATF official as advocates work to build support for gun reforms

Bangor Daily News: Maine Democrats meet behind closed doors with ATF official

NRA-ILA: Bloomberg Tries to Buy Maine (Again), Secret ATF Meetings, and More

This is the timeline of events regarding the fabric of gun legislation in Maine in the last 5 months since the shooting in Lewiston.

After the shooting in Lewiston, before Robert Card was even found, anti-gun legislators were calling for restrictions on law abiding citizens.

We’ve had legislation submitted from voluntarily giving up your right to own a firearm, to redefining a machine gun, expanding background checks, and placing a 72 hour waiting period on receiving a firearm who has already passed a background check. There were also calls for amendments to the submitted bills to include a ban on “assault weapons”

Included in these requests are changes to current law surrounding protective custody warrants and weapons restrictions orders, commonly known as the yellow flag law which was submitted by Governor Mills.

These bills have been heard by the judiciary committee that is chaired by Senator Carney and Representative Moonen. They were assigned here despite it being very public knowledge that Senator Carney is not only a member of the gun safety caucus, but is a member of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, having received an award from them for her work to pass anti-gun rights laws in our state.

Going into the work session on March 13th we had gotten word that there was not going to be a vote on that date. We firmly believe that this is because the chairs of the committee did not have the votes to pass these anti-rights pieces of legislation and were still working to get the support they needed. It was then made known to us that there was a movement in the House to amend the Governor’s bill to a full red flag law –which Commissioner of Public Safety, Michael Sauschuck went on record at the public hearing stating that Governor Mills’ intention was to strengthen the current yellow flag law and did not want to change Maine law to a “full red flag law”.

It is our opinion that if the Governor wanted to submit a different piece of legislation she would have done so.

Now we have heard the testimony during The Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston. We have heard their conclusions: had current law been followed this tragedy could have been avoided. Following the findings,  The Bangor Daily news had headlines such as “Investigators hammer police for not taking Robert Card’s guns before Lewiston shooting”

This flies in the face of every single piece of gun legislation being pushed in Augusta and now anti-gun legislators are scrambling to get these bills passed. A representative from the ATF was slated to appear before the Judiciary Committee yesterday to give testimony on the NICS system, which stands for National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to help the committee make informed decisions on these bills. This representative then decided they could not speak on the record, but would speak to the individual Democrat and Republican caucuses. Crying foul, the Republicans on the committee said they didn’t want to participate in an illegal meeting that was held behind closed doors, away from the eyes and ears of the public. Not to mention there is no guarantee that the information provided in each separate meeting will be the same! 

One legislator informed me that when the information became available that the ATF cannot testify on the public record, asked for their contact information and was told that the only way a one-on-one meeting could be held was if it was scheduled by the chair of the committee and held at the time and place of the chair’s choosing via zoom.

Legally if three or more members of the same committee hold a meeting it has to be public, and yesterday at least five democrat members of the Judiciary Committee participated in a meeting behind closed doors. See the law here

Then, Senator Carney invited members of the Domestic Violence Coalition to do a special presentation before the committee, labeled an information session: firearms and Domestic violence, which was clearly anti-gun, then asked them to come back today for the second work session giving them FOUR opportunities to state their position before the committee. No such offer was made to any pro-gun group or individual. 

Senator Carney is blatantly obvious in her desire to push anti-gun legislation. She is the chair of the committee that oversees laws pertaining to government transparency and is acting as the gatekeeper of information. Furthermore, Senate President Jackson is doing absolutely nothing to reign this in. It is an abuse of power. It is unethical, and Maine citizens need to be aware of it.

Laura Whitcomb, President

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