AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The U.S. Senate is talking about a compromise on gun control - but gun rights supporters say it wouldn't have a big impact on Maine.
Two U.S. Senators, one Democrat and one Republican, today proposed a compromise on the issue of background checks for gun buyers. The plan would require background checks at gun shows and for on-line gun sales. Transfers between family members and apparently many private sales would be exempt.
Background checks are being looked at as a significant part of whatever plan finally passes the full Senate. Advocates of stronger gun control want universal background checks for all sales. Gun right advocates generally oppose expansion of checks. David Trahan of the Sportsmen's Alliance of Maine (SAM) says most gun shows in Maine already do background checks, so the law wouldn't have a big impact here.
But the Maine Legislature is currently considering more than twenty gun control measures, and Trahan and Rep. Mark Dion, co-chair of the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, both say passage of a federal law could affect what happens in Augusta. Trahan believes lawmakers in Maine would be reluctant to pass a measure more strict than a federal law.
Rep. Dion says he'd like to think Maine could set an example for Washington, and pass a tougher law. Dion is still working to pass a bill that would require universal background checks for every gun purchase - including private sales. Dion's plan would have buyer and seller to a licensed dealer to have the search done.