"Each time this happens I'm going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we're going to have to change our laws," President Barack Obama told the nation during an emotional address following the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon earlier this month. "This is not something I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress, and I've got to have state legislators and governors who are willing to work with me on this." On Thursday, Maine initiated a headlines-grabbing new law pertaining to guns, though the move certainly doesn't qualify as the sweeping call to action Obama genuinely requested in the wake of yet another mass shooting.
The new statute, effective on Thursday and already stirring controversy among citizens and law enforcement officials alike, allows people in the state of Maine to carry a concealed handgun without a permit. The change applies to residents and non-residents 21 years of age and older, meaning that everyone in that group “not otherwise banned from carrying a firearm” can now carry a concealed handgun within state borders. These same concealed handgun carriers can also legally keep a loaded pistol or revolver inside their vehicle, according to the Huffington Post.
As one would expect, law enforcement officials across the state have already expressed concern regarding Maine's baffling move. "When this legislation goes into effect...police officers and sheriffs around the state, their lives will be in danger," Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck tells the Forecaster. "Our citizens, their lives will be in danger." The move makes Maine just the most recent of a startling number of states to put into place some version of what gun advocates have dubbed "constitutional concealed carry."
With news of Maine joining the ranks of Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and others, many took to Twitter to express their frustrations with American gun culture, particularly in the wake of several mass shootings: