For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - The House of Representatives took its first roll call on LD 345, the bill to protect the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders sponsored by Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta). Two competing amendments received initial votes Tuesday and will now be taken up by the Senate before being sent back to the House for final enactment.
The majority report of the Judiciary Committee, which received the support of 10 committee members, recommended a slightly amended version of Rep. Wilson's bill which would allow for the release of aggregate, non-identifying data. The minority report put forward by three Democrats on the Committee recommended keeping the information unprotected, but with some limits and a mandate that municipalities and the state police produce extensive reports on permit holders in Maine.
The original bill and the majority report received the endorsement of the Maine Police Chiefs Association, the Maine Sherriff's Association, and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and was approved by the House, 106-40. Lawmakers rejected the minority report, 35-111. Five members were absent.
"Today was our first chance to go on record supporting or opposing the bill, and I'm very happy with the results," said Rep. Wilson. "A strong majority of my colleagues agreed with law enforcement, domestic violence advocates, and others that this sensitive information should be protected."
In his speech, Wilson and other supporters of LD 345 expressed their concerns that a concealed handgun permit is pointless if everyone knows who has one, that permit holders' homes could be targeted for gun theft, that the information could be widely misused, and more. Many lawmakers believe that the freedom of access laws were designed to allow citizens to police government, not for citizens to police each other, as was enabled when a New York Newspaper published an interactive online map of permit holders' homes.
"This was a big win for those who feel strongly about personal privacy and gun-owners' rights," added Wilson. "Hopefully the bill will move forward to enactment quickly."
Maine House Republicans
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