Portland councilor wants ban on guns in City Hall

Posted Sept. 15, 2010, at 8:53 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — At least a dozen guns rights advocates are telling officials in Maine’s largest city they will oppose an attempt to ban firearms from public buildings.

Portland City Councilor Dan Skolnik is trying to build support to ban firearms from public buildings or at least change the law to let municipalities do so. A memo by the city attorney says Police Chief James Craig would support proposed legislation, and will be seeking support from fellow chiefs.

About 15 gun advocates showed up in the council chambers Tuesday night to voice their opposition to Skolnik’s proposal, the Portland Press Herald says. Two of them openly carried semiautomatic pistols, and nearly all of the others carried concealed weapons.

Many more gun advocates from all over Maine will attend the next public hearing on the issue, on Oct. 12, said Shane Belanger, founder of the Maine Open Carry Association. In addition, the National Rifle Association plans to send an attorney to the meeting from its headquarters in Fairfax, Va., he said.

An official from the NRA could not be reached for comment. On Friday, the national gun lobby sent an action alert to Maine members urging them to attend Tuesday’s meeting and contact Portland city councilors.

Guns are currently prohibited in schools, courthouses, jails and bars where the owners post notices. Guns are also banned in state buildings around the State House.