A bill allowing Maine municipalities to prohibit firearms at voting places and government meetings faces long odds following a decisive vote to kill it by a legislative committee.
The State and Local Government Committee voted 8-2 to defeat the proposal, with Democrats joining the Republican minority.
The proposal was designed to give communities the option to ban firearms, which supporters said could intimidate some people or escalate tensions during public meetings. But those arguments did not persuade Maine legislators, who have historically shied away from any measure that could be viewed as limiting a person’s constitutional right to bear firearms.
Opponents argued the bill could depress voter turnout among hunters because Election Day coincides with hunting season.
They also contended that a prohibition would be difficult to enforce without metal detectors and would punish law-abiding gun owners, while also making the public less safe.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.