Law Enforcement Coalition Co-Chairs Support A ‘YES’ Vote on Question 3

ELLSWORTH Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership today announced the co-chairs of the campaign’s Law Enforcement Coalition, which has endorsed a “Yes” vote on Question 3 that will close a dangerous loophole in Maine’s background check system.

“Requiring background checks for all gun sales is one of the most effective ways to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Chief Michael Gahagan of Caribou. “Right now, felons can buy a gun online or through the classified ads with no questions asked. That puts everyone at risk.”

The co-chairs of the Law Enforcement Coalition join the Maine Chiefs of Police Association in formally supporting Question 3, and they represent towns, cities and counties across the state, including Bath, Bridgton, Brunswick, Bucksport, Caribou, Newport, Old Town, Portland, Sanford, Skowhegan, South Portland, York, Wells and Westbrook.

“Mainers take seriously their responsibility as gun owners, and we all share in the obligation to try and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illness,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett. “Question 3 closes a dangerous loophole in the law by requiring a background check for all gun sales. It will be a valuable tool in further limiting the ability of criminals to get their hands on guns while at the same time protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Mainers.”

Currently in Maine, criminal background checks are only required for gun sales at licensed dealers. That means felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people can easily buy guns anonymously from unlicensed sellers — including at gun shows, through classified ads and from strangers they meet online — no background check required.

A “Yes” vote for the Question 3 closes this loophole and requires the same background check for all gun sales.

“No single law will stop all gun violence, but background checks work,” said Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and former police chief of South Portland. “This is absolutely an important issue for law enforcement. In states that require background checks for all gun sales, we know that fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns and fewer guns are trafficked for criminal activity as well as a dramatic reduction in the numbers of women who are shot by their intimate partners.”

Although no one law will stop all crime, research shows that background checks can keep guns away from dangerous people and save lives. In states that already require background checks on all handgun sales, there are:

  • 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns;

  • 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners;


  • 48 percent fewer gun suicides;
and

  • There is 48 percent less gun trafficking.

The Law Enforcement Coalition of Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership advocates for a “Yes” vote on Question 3 and will continue to  grow its ranks throughout the campaign.

Contacts for media interviews:

Chief Michael Field, Bath, and president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association

Chief Michael Gahagan, Caribou

Sheriff Todd Brackett, Lincoln County

Yes on 3 Law Enforcement Coalition Co-Chairs:

Chief Michael Field, Bath

Chief Richard Rizzo, Brunswick

Chief Michael Gahagan, Caribou

Chief Sean Geagan, Bucksport

Chief Edward Tolan, Falmouth

Sheriff Todd Brackett, Lincoln County

Chief Leonard Macdaid, Newport

Chief Dana Kelley, Old Orchard Beach

Chief Scott Wilcox, Old Town

Sheriff Wayne Gallant, Oxford County

Chief Michael Sauschuck, Portland

Chief Michael Connolly Jr., Sanford

Chief Don Bolduc, Skowhegan

Chief Edward Googins, South Portland

Chief Janine Roberts, Westbrook

Chief Jo-Ann Putnam, Wells

Chief Douglas Bracy, York

                                          

About Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership

Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership is a coalition of community organizations, survivors of gun violence, law enforcement officials, faith leaders, domestic violence prevention advocates, sportsmen and other concerned Mainers working to close the background check loophole in Maine law.

 

The wording of Question 3, as determined by the Secretary of State, is:

“Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity?”

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