AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that allows most people to carry a concealed handgun without a state-issued permit is back before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Thursday.
The bill, LD 660, would overturn Maine’s requirement that only trained and vetted individuals who pay a permit fee are allowed to carry a handgun concealed in public.
State Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, the Senate chairman of the committee, refers to the measure as “hide-a-gun.” But supporters of the law change say it protects an individual’s rights under both the Maine and U.S. constitutions.
The bill joins a lineup of others that could prove controversial, including one offered by Gerzofsky requiring a federal background check for those purchasing guns at a gun shows in Maine.
The bill, LD 267, also allows only licensed firearms dealers to sell at gun shows, but permits the unlicensed to transfer those weapons for sale at a show.
Two other bills on the committee’s docket involve concealed handgun permits:
— LD 958 would prohibit those involuntarily committed to a mental health facility from obtaining a concealed handgun permit.
— LD 189 would require the state to establish a single statewide database for the information on those with concealed handgun permits.
Other bills before the panel include ones that would prohibit the enforcement of federal gun laws in Maine and one that promotes the safe use and sale of firearms.
The committee is scheduled to begin its work at 1 p.m.