AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has given its first nod to a bill overhauling the state’s concealed handgun permit system by limiting the municipalities that can give out permits.

The Democratic-led Senate endorsed the bill in a 20-13 vote Friday.

Under the bill, only municipalities with a full-time police chief could handle permits. It would also create a confidential centralized database of all permit holders.

The Senate rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed all Mainers who are not otherwise prohibited to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. The House rejected a similar amendment Thursday.

Supporters of that amendment said it empowers residents to exercise their constitutional right to carry a firearm without restriction. But Democrats said the proposal would undermine the state’s concealed handgun system.

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