L.D. 2238: Waiting period for gun purchases

An Act to Address Gun Violence in Maine by Requiring a Waiting Period for Certain Firearm Purchases.
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The bill establishes a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and the transfer from a seller to a buyer.
The Maine Monitor is recapping the 131st Legislature by highlighting legislative bills you should know about. View all of our recaps.

Lewiston Democrat Sen. Peggy Rotundo’s bill establishing a waiting period for firearms purchases passed as amended by slim margins in both houses of the Maine Legislature.

The bill is one of several addressing gun violence in the state in the wake of the Lewiston mass shooting that left 18 people dead.

It establishes a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase of a firearm and the transfer from a seller to a buyer.

There are exceptions, including if the buyer is a law enforcement officer; a federally licensed firearms dealer; a family member; the firearm is an antique and/or if the seller and buyers are licensed collectors; or if a background check is not required under federal or state law.

With the passage of L.D. 2224, virtually all firearms purchases, including private sales, must comply with the waiting period. Violators are subject to fines.

The bill is now on Gov. Janet Mills’ desk.

Read the full bill on the legislature’s website.

To get a sense of the debate, here are some excerpts from testimony:

For:

“Suicide attempts are often impulsive episodes that involve little planning … Waiting period laws create a buffer and allow for a cooling down period. They give time for friends and family to notice a person is in trouble and step in to help them out.” ~ Susan Kistenmacher, Farmingdale

“L.D. 2238 preserves the Second Amendment right to own a gun while also keeping Mainers safe. Even if just one life is saved because of this bill, it will be worth all of the inconvenience for people who have to wait 72 hours to have possession of a firearm.” ~ Gianna Barbieri, Cape Elizabeth

“If this law was in place some years ago, it might have saved the life of a brilliant, creative and gifted 24-year-old young man, who in the grips of acute depression ended his life less than two days after purchasing a firearm. I think of his tragic loss often, of his family and the community that still mourns his death. Every life saved from suicide is an immeasurable gift, and this modest change might save many lives.” ~ Greg Marley, NAMI Maine

Against:

“If this law passes, I, and others like me become more vulnerable to violence, and we lose our freedom to protect ourselves and family when we need it the most.” ~ David Trahan, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

“Having purchased firearms legally, being cleared through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System each time, I have never been delayed or denied my purchase. Now if L.D. 2238 is passed, myself as a law-abiding citizen, I will have my Second Amendment rights infringed upon with yet another regulation.” ~ Lewis Corriveau, Sidney

“Any waiting period would be detrimental to Maine’s hunting tourism industry because guides would be unable to provide hunters with firearms, and local firearm dealers would be unable to sell and transfer firearms in a timely manner.” ~ Daniel Masessa, Montville

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Emily Bader

Emily Bader is a health care and general assignment reporter for The Maine Monitor. She joined The Monitor in April 2023 from the Sun Journal in Lewiston, Maine, where she covered healthcare for two years and was a University of Southern California Center for Health Journalism Data Fellow. Prior to that, she was a staff writer for the Lakes Region Weekly in Cumberland County. Emily has earned several awards, including the Maine Press Association’s Bob Drake Young Writer Award in 2021, the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s Publick Occurrences Award in 2022 and most recently, the Maine Public Health Association’s journalism award. Emily was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wellesley College.
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