President wants to see expanded ‘red flag’ gun laws, but some say Maine’s current law is sufficient

Mainers react to President Biden’s executive gun orders
Mainers react to President Biden’s executive gun orders
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:46 PM EDT
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(WMTW) - President Joe Biden’s executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence gained support from Maine groups like Moms Demand Action, but others say Maine’s current gun law is sufficient enough.

Biden wants to limit “ghost guns” kits that can be bought online and assembled without traceable serial numbers.

The president also called on the Department of Justice to publish a model of “red flag” laws for states to use as guides, an option for families or law enforcement to petition people from getting firearms if they are a danger to themselves or others.

Last June, Maine’s version of a “red flag” law, called a “yellow flag law,” that gives power to police rather than family or friends to petition a court to take confiscate guns.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine helped to craft the bill, LD 1811, that lead to the “yellow flag law.”

Executive Director David Trahan is proud of the effort.

“I thought it was a miracle what happened,” says Trahan. “You want to make sure we don’t lose that potential miracle as a solution to some of the problems around the country.”

Maine’s law allows police to take a person into protective custody if a medical professional agrees that the person poses a danger to themselves and others. Police will then have that person surrender their weapons temporarily.

A judge would then hold a hearing within 14 days to decide if the person taken into custody is eligible to have their firearms returned or if their weapons should be held up to one year.

The person in question can petition to have their weapons returned once during that time period. It’s a process that Trahan says has more due process than any proposed red flag law, noting that the proposals from President Biden can be challenged legally.

“We found a process that was able to capture people in crisis in mental health crisis is the highest level of the process and ensure the rights of all individuals involved and that was passed with great support from both parties,” says Trahan.

But Kathleen McFadden, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, hopes the president’s announcement has impact here in Maine.

“I am thrilled that there is finally movement on this issue,” said McFadden. “We just need to give families and law enforcement tools to intervene before a tragedy occurs and not after I think there is room to strengthen those policies in Maine,” said McFadden who is interested in seeing the model laws.

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