For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislature today voted to enact a bill introduced by Governor LePage to temporarily protect the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders. The governor introduced the bill, LD 576, "Resolve, To Protect Concealed Handgun Permit Information on a Temporary Basis," in cooperation and consultation with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders Friday. The vote was 129-11 in the House, with a 2/3 vote (101 members) required for passage.
The moratorium expires on April 30, giving the legislature time to consider LD 345, the bill introduced by Rep. Corey Wilson to permanently protect the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders. The vote on the governor's bill is the first roll call on the passage of legislation in the 126th Legislature.
"I'm very encouraged to see that the first vote of the new term was to approve a bipartisan bill to support gun owners' rights, introduced by a Republican governor and enacted by a Democratic legislature," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Republicans strongly support the substance of this bill and we look forward to seeing a more permanent solution work its way through the legislative process."
Republican legislative leadership on Thursday objected to requests for information submitted to police departments throughout the state by the Bangor Daily News requesting the names, addresses, and birth dates of all concealed handgun permit holders in Maine. Rep. Fredette called on Democratic leadership to fast-track Rep. Wilson's bill. The next day, the governor and both parties in the legislature agreed that whatever happened to Wilson's bill, the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders should be protected while the legislature considers it.
The governor and legislative leaders agreed that the privacy of concealed handgun permit holders and the safety concerns raised by law enforcement officials trumped the BDN's prerogative in gathering and compiling Mainers' personal information. There are currently 483 exceptions to Maine's Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). Today's bill or Rep. Wilson's bill would add one more to that number.
Rep. Wilson's LD 345, itself a bipartisan measure, will move forward before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, where it will receive a public hearing and the input of expert opinion during work sessions.
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793