Gun ruling no surprise to Mainers on both sides

Posted June 28, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.

Monday’s Supreme Court decision in a Second Amendment case out of Chicago came as no surprise to advocates in Maine on both sides of the gun control issue.

Bill Harwood, a Portland lawyer and spokesman for Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, said that in addition to extending its previous decision concerning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban to the states, justices addressed the 20-year-old debate over gun control.

“I was glad to see the court went out of its way to say that most of what we have been debating the past few decades doesn’t violate the Second Amendment as a practical matter,” he said Monday in a telephone interview. “Things like requiring background checks, limiting the number of guns that may be purchased in a certain time period, requiring guns to be registered and banning guns in places like Acadia National Park, the court has said do not violate the Second Amendment.”

Harwood added that he does expect the gun lobby to continue its efforts to limit the regulation of sales and possession of firearms.

“We think, based on the court’s decision, that common sense gun regulation does not violate the Second Amendment,” he said

Efforts to reach George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, were unsuccessful Monday.

“It’s definitely a historic win for gun rights all across America,” Shane Belanger of the Open Carry Association said in a telephone interview Monday. “The Second Amendment is finally being applied to the states as it should be. We won’t know how much of an impact the case will have in communities around the country until we’ve had a chance to go into how [the justices] came to their conclusion.”

Belanger’s group will hold an open carry event at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 11, on Thompson Island in Acadia National Park to protest the state ban on guns in the park on Mount Desert Island. The law, passed earlier this year by the Maine Legislature, goes into effect Monday, July 12, said Belanger, of Portland.

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