Police Chiefs in Maine Endorse Ballot Question for Gun Background Checks

In Maine, some police chiefs are pointing to the Boston Marathon bombers as a reason to support tighter gun laws. A ballot question this November would require background checks for all gun sales, including private sales and transfers.

The gun the Tsarnaev brothers used to shoot and kill MIT Officer Sean Collier was purchased legally in Maine, but wound up in the possession of a Portland gang and eventually into Tsarnaev’s possession.

South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins said it’s just one example of a troubling trend.

"It’s well understood in law enforcement that Maine guns end up in other New England states," said Chief Googin.

He, and other members of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, announced their endorsement for Question 3, which would expand background check requirements in Maine.

"It’s a common sense proposal that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," said Googins.

In a press conference, supporters of Question 3 cited numerous statistics from other states that have enacted similar laws, and said there has been a 48 percent decrease in police officers killed by handguns, a 46 percent decrease in women shot and killed by their partners, and a 48 percent reduction in gun trafficking.

Opponents of the referendum, including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, argue the new law would go too far.

"If this law passes, you’re going to have to pass a background check to let your friend of 40 years borrow a firearm," said David Trahan, Executive Director of SAM.

"We’re one of the safest states in the nation to live," said Trahan. "If we need to tighten our laws, let the Maine legislature do it."

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