A new red flag bill, also known as an extreme risk protection order bill or L.D. 1312, was be the subject of a public hearing on April 22. I’m writing to urge Sen. Matthew Pouliot and the rest of the Legislature to support this bill. Many Mainers depend on our lawmakers’ actions regarding L.D.  1312.

Firearm suicides make up 88 percent of all firearm deaths in the state of Maine. In the case of a family member who is exhibiting signs that he or she may harm him or herself, L.D. 1312 would empower families to obtain a court order to temporarily confiscate the person’s firearms. Mainers would have a legal path to protect themselves and their families when a firearm is in the possession of someone who may use it to cause harm.

Nearly two in five Maine women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Of the 22 people who were killed by intimate partners between 2013 and 2017, more than half were shot. These people could have been saved by a red flag bill like L.D. 1312.

The bill would not open the floodgates for people to confiscate guns whenever they want, as some have suggested. It includes robust due process protections, making it a class C crime to file a petition without proving that one is in imminent danger due to a firearm.

More than 80 percent of Maine voters support L.D. 1312, and the Maine Chiefs of Police Association has endorsed the bill.

We must prioritize the safety of people who have reason to fear their family members or partners, over the desire of some to restrict firearm possession as little as possible.

I urge Sen. Pouliot and the rest of the Maine legislature to support L.D. 1312.

 

Richard Fein

Manchester


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