Mr. Chairman and Members of the Taxation 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 Speakers Bureau. But I speak to you today not only on behalf of the MGOA Membership, but also as an individual Maine citizen and life-long gun-owner.
As I stand here before you, a question comes to mind: Why am I, and many other gun owners, here today? For one simple reason. You've been asked to consider a bill that gun owners find particularly onerous.
LD-1012 purports to improve courtroom security in Maine. I don't have an issue with that objective. In fact, I strongly support improving the security situation in our courts. The problem with LD-1012 is how it's to be funded. LD-1012 requires gun owners exclusively to entirely fund a state institution's security requirements. Why only gun owners? Why when it's clear that Maine courts do the people's business throughout a broad spectrum of legal issues involving many people during various court proceedings? It seems to me that ALL of Maine's people would be willing to equally share in supporting courtroom security.
By requiring only gun owners to support courtroom security costs, one can only come to a few pertinent conclusions: This bill is aimed less at the issue of courtroom security. It's much more directed against Maine gun owners. The bill's sponsors, a cast of characters well-known to Maine gun owners, have unabashedly used the courtroom security issue to further an agenda of suppression of gun ownership and usage in Maine. With energetic support from some of the most notorious anti-gun organizations within Maine and the United States, the bill's sponsors are implicitly characterizing Maine's gun owners as those individuals who should be held primarily responsible for any violent incidents that may arise in a courtroom setting. I, and all of Maine's gun owners, take great exception to that characterization.
LD-1012 will tax .perhaps a better word is "harass" . a specific group of law-abiding citizens. The bill's funding mechanism is dramatically unfair and punitive.
I ask that this committee unanimously reject the bill before you.
Thank you for the opportunity to address my concerns and those of the gun owners of Maine.
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