Controversy over tightening gun laws

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 39th annual Bangor Gun show is taking place this weekend at the Anah Shrine Temple in Bangor, hosted by the Penobscot County Conservation Association.

In just a few weeks, Mainers will be heading to the polls to decide on Question 3, which could have an effect on gun sales at similar events such as these.

Question three could have an effect on private sellers. Question 3 seeks to require a background check any time a firearm changes hands, including selling or lending a firearm to someone.

Right now residents of Maine can privately sell a gun to another resident without first performing a background check at a federally licensed firearm dealer.

Now there are some exceptions to when a background check must be performed. This includes selling or transferring a firearm between family members; if the firearm is an antique or relic; in cases of emergency self-defense; or while the parties are hunting or sport shooting together. More information can be found here.

The NRA and sportsmen's alliance of Maine are both against Question 3.

Some opponents to this law said it is very complex and will hinder more than help.

"It’s a virtually unenforceable law, you have to have somebody watching you very closely all day long to see if you have violated this at all and then what do you do about it....people who are illegally gonna guns are gonna illegally obtain guns whether we have question three or not” said Charles Rumsey, Gun Show Coordinator.

Jumping to the other side of the issue, proponents of the law say this is an effective bill that will reduce the amount of gun violence.

They said that there is a loophole that needs to be closed. The measure would require background checks before a gun sale or transfer between people who are not licensed firearm dealers.

On Saturday night in Portland, Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership who are for Question 3 held their own event, a film about gun policies and background checks followed by a discussion.

David Farmer, Campaign Manager for Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership said this is a common sense proposal.

“It is a proposal that will keep guns out of the hands, of dangerous people...people who are prohibited, who are criminals who are domestic abusers who are severely mentally ill, try to purchase guns and they're stopped, this is an effective law that will save lives” said Farmer.

The background check requirement is supported by groups including the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership.

This will all be decided on November 8 when Mainers head to the polls.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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