May 2nd-6th 2005: MGOA Log of Legislative Activities

MGOA COMMENTS TO THE LEGISLATURE – May 2nd, 2005
Before the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee RE: LD 1579
FROM: Jeff Weinstein, President, Maine Gun Owners Association
TEL 846-3000 <> www.MGOA.com

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

My name is Jeff Weinstein and I reside in Yarmouth. I'm President of the Maine Gun Owners Association and a Member of the NRA National Speakers Bureau.

The Bill you’re considering today, LD 1579, is a proposed piece of legislation that would serve no useful purpose towards the improvement of public safety. What this legislation would do is seriously impinge upon the rights of Maine citizens to purchase, own, or possess firearms that are, in most respects, universally recognized as common and usual throughout the state.

The purported difference between the firearms marked for restriction in the Bill and other virtually identical firearms commonly used by millions of gun owners throughout the country is purely cosmetic. There’s NO operational distinction between the restricted firearms and those used for hunting and competitive shooting. The apparent “military appearance” criteria seems to be the only basis for implying that the restricted firearms are extraordinarily “dangerous” or “threatening”. Under this Bill, the sale, purchase, or possession of a restricted firearm would be determined solely by the color or shape of the stock, or by the ability to attach rather benign accessories to the firearm. The thinking behind this foolishness is frankly both illogical and bewildering to anyone with a basic understanding of firearms.

As you should know, the entire nation has just completed a grand experiment called the “Assault Weapons Ban” (AWB). The Federal government compiled statistics during the time that the AWB was in effect, and those statistics showed that the AWB had virtually no effect on the already very low percentage of violent incidents involving so-called “assault weapons”. These statistics powerfully influenced Congress to not extend the AWB at the Federal level.

On the economic side of this issue, I suspect that nobody at the legislative level has done an economic impact study related to this proposed Bill. From the standpoint of Maine Sales Tax revenue alone, one could conservatively estimate that the state treasury would lose many tens of thousands of dollars should this Bill pass. Additionally, it would significantly affect the income statements of dozens of licensed firearms dealers in Maine, many of them already struggling under an onerous tax structure that punitively impacts nearly all of Maine’s small businesses.

With respect to the provision in this proposed Bill banning the sale, purchase, or possession of .50-caliber rifles and ammunition, this is another example of a loopy legislative solution chasing a non-existent problem. For those few gun owners who are interested in this powerful and accurate caliber, the ballistic science of this ordnance opens up a fascinating and challenging dimension of long-range competitive shooting. But, is this caliber particularly dangerous? Hardly! First of all, it’s not used in hunting. Secondly, there is not one known incident throughout the entire country involving the offensive use of a .50-caliber rifle!

It’s clear to me that LD 1579 is an illogically crafted Bill devoid of any factual support whatsoever. It’s also very likely unconstitutional under both the Maine and United States Constitutions.

LD 1579 is an affront to the extraordinarily law-abiding citizens of Maine.

Common sense and rationality demand that LD 1579 be emphatically defeated by this Committee.

Thank you for the opportunity to address my concerns and those of the gun owners of Maine.

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As has been mentioned, the Committee Work Session is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th. It will be held in the State Office Building, Room 208, beginning at 1:00 PM.

Although there won't be an opportunity to address the Committee unless a Committee member asks a specific individual in attendance to comment upon or otherwise clarify a specific point of discussion, attendance by gun supporters, albeit silent, would impress Committee members that we're still paying attention to their deliberations and their votes.

I hope to see as many of you there as can possibly make it.

Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
TEL 846-3000 <> www.MGOA.com

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The Maine Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee Work Session (& Likely Vote) on the Assault Weapons Ban Bill (LD 1579) is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th. It will be held in the State Office Building, Room 208, beginning at 1:00 PM.


Although there won't be an opportunity to address the Committee unless a Committee member asks a specific individual in attendance to comment upon or otherwise clarify a specific point of discussion, attendance by gun supporters, albeit silent, would impress Committee members that we're still paying attention to their deliberations and their votes.

I hope to see as many of you there as can possibly make it.

Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
TEL 846-3000 <> www.MGOA.com

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I applaud those who took the time on Monday 5/2/05 to attend and speak up on LD 1579, the so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" Bill, at the Maine Legislature's Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee Hearing.

In addition to myself, the following partial list of individuals are acknowledged:

-- State Rep Richard Cebra
-- State Sen Lois Snowe-Mello
-- Al Smith
-- Dennis Crowell of the Capitol City Rifle & Pistol Club
-- Mr Herrick
-- Jim Verdolini
-- George Smith of SAM
-- Barry Sturk of HIRAM MAXIM
-- Jeff Zimba
-- David Fortier
-- Ray Cramer
-- John Maloney
-- Tom Dowd of Androscoggin County F & G

We inadvertently missed the names of a few speakers. If you have a name to add to the list, please let me know.

Thanks!

Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
TEL 846-3000 <> www.MGOA.com

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The latest info regarding the location of the LD 1579 Work Session on Thursday 5/5/05 is in the State Office Building, ROOM 436!

There are three Bills listed to be considered, LD 344, LD 1271, & LD 1579, The session start time is 1:00 PM.

-- Jeff Weinstein

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Got back from Augusta late this afternoon and found that everybody on this Forum already heard the results of the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee's deliberations today!

George Smith of SAM, MGOA VP George Fogg, and myself attended the deliberations of the gun bills under consideration during today's committee work session. George Smith and myself were invited to provide additional commentary on various aspects of the bills, which we did.

The committee, under the able and eminently fair leadership of the co-chairs, Sen Bill Diamond and Rep Pat Blanchette, resoundingly voted "ought not to pass", eliminating two of the three bills of significant concern to gun owners, LD 1579 ("AN Act to Extend the Ban on Assault Weapons") and LD 344 ("An Act to Authorize the Regulation of Firearms on Public Property")

The next bill being considered is LD 333 ("An Act Regarding the Sale of Firearms at Gun Shows"). The committee work session during which this Bill will be discussed begins at 9:30 AM on Friday 5/6/05. Five Bills are to be discussed during the session. LD 333 is listed first, so it's likely it will be discussed first. I'll be there, and I suspect George Smith from SAM will also be there.

Again, THANKS to all of you who have been instrumental in supporting the efforts to defeat these bills. Without you, the leadership of MGOA, SAM, and other gun-related organizations would be minimally effective. You should be proud for standing up for what is right.

Regards,

Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
TEL 846-3000 <> WEBSite: www.MGOA.com
E-Mail: MGOA-HQ@MGOA.com

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This morning (5/6/05), I attended and participated in the Maine Legislature's Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee's deliberations over LD 333, "An Act Regarding the Sale of Firearms at Gun Shows" The only other non-legislator participant was Bill Harwood of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence (MCAHV). I'm glad I was there, since the committee requested me to provide clarifying information on several provisions of the bill.

The final vote was a substantial but not a complete victory in committee. The vote was 6-4 "ought not to pass". However, a minority report will be issued recommending that the bill be passed by the entire legislature with an amended provision in the fine schedule. This all means that we'll still have to keep an eye on LD 333 as it works its way through the legislative process, even though the momentum for the bill's defeat appears to be in our favor at the moment.

We may have to have gun owners contact their own State Senators and Representatives shortly to help persuade them to oppose LD 333.

All-in-all, it's been a VERY BUSY WEEK for me and MGOA! Well worth the effort, though!

Jeff Weinstein, President
Maine Gun Owners Association Inc
TEL 846-3000 <> WEBSite: www.MGOA.com
E-Mail: MGOA-HQ@MGOA.com

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