PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Galvanized by Connecticut's tough new gun law, activists in Maine are focusing their efforts on pushing for stricter gun laws here.
Thursday in Portland, faith leaders, moms and other community leaders are speaking out for the need for more comprehensive background checks for gun sales.
Activists say because Maine doesn't require background checks for guns sold at gun shows and through private owners, the weapons are falling into the hands of criminals, including those who have been convicted of domestic abuse.
Members of the Maine Council of Churches, Mayors Again Illegal Guns and Moms Demand met to discuss the need for stricter gun control laws in Maine and across the country.
The group says universal background checks for all weapons could save lives, especially for people who are dealing with domestic abuse from their partners. Activists say a study by USM's Muskie Center found that 30 percent of people in Maine are rejected from purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer, becasue they have been convicted of domestic abuse.
Activists say criminals are still able to get their hands on a gun by buying it from a private dealer who is not required to do background checks or keep any records.
The groups are also lobbying federal lawmakers to support legislation that bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines.