Maine urged to ban firearms in polling stations

Maine urged to ban firearms in polling stations

Just In… State lawmakers are weighing a proposal that would ban Mainers from packing firearms in polling stations, but gun rights groups say the changes are unnecessary. LD 805 would authorize municipal officials to prohibit firearms in polling stations on Election Day. Under the proposal, firearms would be prohibited from being within 250 feet of a polling station, though law-enforcement officers would be exempt from the ban. Maine is one of a handful of "open carry" states where firearm owners can possess a gun in plain view, without any special permit. While federal law prohibits firearms in schools, where many polling stations are located, there’s no prohibition in city or town halls, community centers and other places where people cast ballots. Supporters say the changes are necessary to protect voters from intimidation and harassment when they are casting ballots for state, local or federal elections. The bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, calls the proposal a "common-sense measure that provides protection for everyone working at the polls." "The fact that folks have a right to own and carry guns does not mean we have to normalize the presence of guns in every aspect of our lives," Breen said in recent testimony on the bill. "People who serve their communities by volunteering in polling places should be protected, whether the election takes place in a school or in some other building." But the move faces opposition from gun rights groups who say the changes are unnecessary and would violate […]

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