Maine’s governor has had a little trouble recently with handling legislative procedures, but here’s one that he nailed on the first try. (And thanks be that he did.) While it won’t take effect until some time in October, Maine has now become the fifth state in the nation to pass constitutional carry. (From Reuters)
Maine will allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit, a practice called “constitutional carry” by Second Amendment advocates, under a bill signed into law on Wednesday by Republican Governor Paul LePage.
The measure will make Maine the fifth state to pass a law legalizing the carrying of a handgun, either openly or concealed, without the requirement of a government permit.
Maine joins Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and Kansas in voting to allow the practice, according to National Rifle Association spokesman Lars Dalseide. Vermont has never required a permit. Arkansas and Montana also allow more limited forms of constitutional carry.
It’s not really that much of a shift for Maine, which already had some of the most supportive Second Amendment policies in the nation. (Of course, I live in New York, so almost everyone looks fairly supportive from here.) You could already open carry without a permit there, but for concealed you needed a background check, a licensing fee, and a judgment of “good moral character” to be approved. (There’s a scary sounding clause for you when it’s the government determining who passes that bar.) The minimum age for carrying will be 21 except for active duty military and veterans, who gain the right at 18.
I wouldn’t expect much to change on the streets of Maine going forward. As noted above, it was already one of the more free states in the nation in terms of gun laws and yet the rates of violent crime and firearms assaults were in the basement compared to their neighbors in Massachusetts, where the gun laws are vastly more restrictive. (Funny how that always seems to work, isn’t it?)
An armed society is a polite society, and the folks in Maine are quite polite. (Once you get over that accent, anyway. What’s up with that?)