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Maine takes up gun reform, defiance

A gun-rights rally last month in Maine.
A gun-rights rally last month in Maine.Maine Gun Rights Coalition

Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the states of New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland have passed laws designed to prevent gun violence. This week the Maine legislature takes up a couple dozen gun bills. One bill would ban carrying weapons "in a public place in a manner that causes a reasonable person to suffer intimidation or alarm." Back in December, a guy wore his assault rifle as he walked through Portland, Maine, to mail a letter.

Another bill would limit the size of magazines to 10 rounds. That is the same type of limit set by the other states. 

With gun reform starting to look possible in more places, Maine lawmakers will also debating a few bills that drive the other way. One would make it difficult for local governments to destroy firearms and ammunition obtained through gun buybacks, even when the person turning in the gun wants it destroyed. A second bill would have Maine join the list of states nullifying federal control by exempting firearms and ammunition in the state from federal laws. 

Maine politics are kind of a mess right now. In November, Democrats regained control of the legislature. Since then Republican Governor Paul LePage has mostly refused to meet with the new majority or to sign anything the legislature passes.