December 21, 2012

Maine legislative leaders cool to allowing guns in schools

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

Legislative leaders offered a tepid response to a bill that would allow concealed firearm permit holders to bring their guns to Maine public schools.

Rep. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, confirmed Friday that he had submitted the legislation. Duprey had posted on his Facebook account that schools are "soft targets" for armed gunmen like the one who killed 26 people, including 20 children, during a mass shooting in Newton, Conn.

Duprey, who owns several children's daycare facilities in the Bangor area, wrote that the victims in the shooting would have had a chance to stop the killings if one of them were armed. 

"As it stands now any psycho knows that all schools are gun free zones and thus extremely soft targets, he wrote."

Duprey said his proposal would apply to "teachers, principals and parents" who hold a concealed firearm permit.   

Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, the House assistant majority leader said lawmakers were committed to dealing with gun violence in a comprehensive way. McCabe said that "polarizing" proposals like Duprey's alienated people on both sides of the gun debate. 

Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, the House Republican leader, was reluctant to dismiss Duprey's proposal while people are still grappling with the Newtown tragedy and without reviewing specific legislation.

Fredette said, "We shouldn't be making any rash decisions about guns or gun ownership when we're still dealing with what happened in Connecticut. ... We need to look at this issue in a comprehensive way."

Read more about Duprey's comments and the local reaction on Steve Mistler's Capitol Ticker blog


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