The tragic shootings in a Colorado theater and the arrest of Maine man with what police called “an arsenal” has pushed gun control into the forefront of political races in Maine and across the country.

The three major candidates for the U.S. Senate in Maine run the gamut on the issue, with the Democrat calling for more regulation of guns and ammunition, the Republican saying there’s no need for a change in the laws and the leading candidate, the independent, saying he has always supported “common-sense regulation of guns.”

State Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, said the incident in Colorado reinforces the need for a wide range of newer regulations, including limits on the amount of ammunition a magazine can hold; stricter and more comprehensive background checks prior to a handgun purchase; limits on firearms sales at gun shows; and stricter regulation of sales of ammunition over the Internet.

Dill also supports reinstating a 1994 ban on sales of assault weapons, which expired in 2004.

Secretary of State Charlie Summers, the Republican candidate, said he doesn’t see the need for any new restrictions in firearms sales and also opposes reinstating the assault weapons ban.

King in a statement issued by his staff said he doubts that any constitutionally permitted change in the law would have prevented the shooting rampage.

He does not support reinstating the 1994 assault weapons ban, saying the government should instead focus on preventing certain people – convicted felons and those with demonstrated violent tendencies – from owning guns.

On a personal level, Dill said she supports the 2nd Amendment and Maine’s “culture” of gun ownership, but does not own any guns herself. Summers said he owns guns, but declined to say how many or what type.

King, who does not own a gun, said the 2nd Amendment has important meaning to Mainers and that the Maine Constitution goes even further in protection of gun ownership.


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