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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/28/11

Rep. Crafts Says Concealed Weapon Bill Would Enhance Public Safety

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Dale Crafts says his bill to modify the law regarding concealed carry weapons is a safety enhancement for law abiding citizens and would make concealed carry permits more affordable.

The bill by Rep. Crafts (R-Lisbon), LD 658, is titled "An Act to Modify the Requirement of a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon." It is modeled on laws currently in effect in Arizona and Alaska. In essence, it would allow a person to carry a concealed weapon without a permit except in certain places, which are detailed in the legislation.

"In my view, an armed society is a safer society," said Rep. Crafts, a second-term legislator. "The requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon could be considered a violation of the 2nd Amendment, which states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The Founding Fathers thought that right was so basic that it comes at the top of the Bill of Rights, just after the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

"American citizens have a right to protect themselves," he added, "whether they are in their own homes or in a public venue. This bill would enhance the right to self-protection for law-abiding folks, with reasonable restraints."

Rep. Crafts said his bill also would make concealed carry permits less expensive - $10 for an original application instead of the current $35 fee - and would extend the length of permits from four years to seven years.

Under LD 658, all restrictions that apply to concealed carry permits would apply to the proposed law, and persons carrying a concealed weapon without a permit would be subject to additional restrictions. Such persons, for example, could not enter a polling place on the day of an election, the grounds or buildings of a school or a nuclear power plant or hydroelectric facility.

Moreover, the prohibition against carrying without a permit would extend to "a structure, vehicle or craft owned, leased or operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state after a reasonable request by the operator or sponsorto remove the dangerous or deadly weapon and place it in the custody of the operator or sponsor for temporary and secure storage."

Rep. Crafts said his bill has been attacked in press accounts based on false and misleading statements. In one article, a critic said the bill would make guns "very, very available to young people - to children - who are just playing with them."

Rep. Crafts said critics need to remember that citizens are currently allowed to carry weapons that are not concealed. "I don't see this leading to an explosion in the number of guns," he said. "Right now you can walk down main street wearing a holster with a revolver just like you could in the old West. The only difference with my bill is that you could conceal that same weapon." ###

Contact:
Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445