November 10, 2016

Why Maine rejected more gun control

Christian Science Monitor - Three of the four states considering ballot initiatives to tighten their gun-control laws approved their measures as expected. But voters in Maine bucked the trend, rejecting a push for universal background checks at gun shows and in private firearms sales.

The defeat of Maine's well-funded ballot initiative (52 percent to 48 percent) could serve as a lesson for those pushing for stricter gun policy.

"I think there's two lessons that gun control advocates should take out of this," Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, tells The Christian Science Monitor. First, they should be wary of coming across as "meddlesome big-city outsiders" running a campaign in a state that is not their own, he says. Second, they should carefully craft proposed policies to avoid unintended consequences. Recommended:How much do you know about the Second Amendment? A quiz....

Opponents noted that the language of the proposal could have broader implications, perhaps even making it illegal to loan a firearm to a friend while on a hunting trip together without a background check.

Brewer says voters would have been more likely to green-light the proposal if its language had been more carefully crafted to regulate sales activity alone.

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