Skip to content

Maine Joint Judiciary Committee Advances Legislation to Strengthen Gun Safety Laws; Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond 


AUGUSTA, ME – Today, the Maine chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding the Maine Joint Judiciary Committee for advancing legislation to strengthen gun violence prevention across the state. The bills will now go to the Senate for consideration. The advancement of these critical measures comes just a few weeks after volunteers advocated for stronger gun safety laws in Maine during their annual advocacy day in Augusta. 

“Today is a victory for the safety of every community across Maine and yet another example of how we can — and will — pass strong gun safety laws in our state,” said Kathleen McFadden, a volunteer with the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Every piece of legislation that we pass to prevent gun violence is a critical step forward, and we’re grateful to our lawmakers for making progress today. As these measures advance, we will continue to advocate for a real extreme risk protection order process that can provide family members and law enforcement with a one-step intervention tool to keep firearms from someone in crisis – which will be able to save numerous lives in Maine.” 

“I, and more than a dozen other Students Demand Action volunteers, showed up to testify in support of these bills because the most important thing we can do to prevent gun violence is to take action before tragedy strikes,” said Lianna Holden, a volunteer leader with the Freeport High School Students Demand Action chapter. “Gun violence is already the leading cause of death for my generation, so we’ll continue to do everything we can to make sure these bills and other gun safety legislation–like a real, true red flag law that establishes extreme risk protection orders–get across the finish line.”

The measures voted on in today’s Joint Judiciary Committee include: 

  • (ADVANCED) LD 2238, SP0958: This bill would establish a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase and transfer of a firearm. Waiting period laws are associated with reduced suicide rates – as this time creates a critical buffer between someone having a suicidal crisis and accessing a gun. 
  • (ADVANCED) LD 2086, SP0879: This bill includes a provision to prohibit the future sale, purchase and transfer of bump stocks, auto sears and other devices whose sole purpose is to enable semiautomatic firearms to fire like machine guns. 
  • (ADVANCED) LD 2224, SP0953: This bill, also known as the “Governor’s Bill,” includes provisions to require background checks on advertised sales and gun show sales and increase funding for mental health resources across the state. It also strengthens provisions in the yellow paper law but does not enact a true red flag law, also known as an extreme risk protection order, that could serve as a one-step crisis intervention tool for family members and law enforcement to disarm those in crisis. 

Maine lawmakers advanced these bills today following months of strengthened advocacy in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Lewiston, where a gunman killed 18 and injured 13 others. Research demonstrates that in states where elected officials have taken action to pass gun safety laws, fewer people die by gun violence, making it critical that Maine enact these measures to save lives. Advocates have recently increased their demands for a real red flag law following the release of interim findings from the Lewiston Commission that underscored how cumbersome the yellow paper law is. A red flag law, or Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law is a one-step crisis intervention tool that is proven to help family members quickly intervene when they recognize dangerous warning signs, like the ones that preceded the tragedy in Lewiston. 

In an average year, 163 people die by guns in Maine. 89% of gun deaths in Maine are by firearm suicide. Gun violence costs Maine $2.3 billion each year, of which $17.3 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Maine is available here