As a former U.S. Forest Service employee, I believe passage of L.D. 297, “An Act To Require Forest Rangers To Be Trained in Order To Allow Them To Carry Firearms,” makes sense in these times.

I have spoken to Maine Forest Service rangers who have been threatened by individuals with firearms while investigating illegal campsites and campfires. The rangers are required to walk away and call “other” (armed) law enforcement officials for backup, thus allowing the perpetrators to flee while tying up personnel from other state, county or local agencies.

These rangers are not even allowed (or given the option) to wear protective clothing as do all other law enforcement employees.

This situation is wrong and needs to be corrected for the safety and welfare of these fine law enforcement individuals.

I truly hope everyone will see the common sense in this piece of legislation. When I was with the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho, it was back during the early 1980s. Things were a lot different then. Unfortunately, in these days and times, people do not treat each other with the same respect as we did back then. It’s a sad statement about the world, but for the sake of today’s rangers and their families, this bill should be made into law.

Mark A. HudsonWinslow