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Portland Police Chief: New Concealed Carry Law Endangers Police, Citizens

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck held a press conference today on the new concealed weapons law, citing an incident that illustrates why he's opposed to it.

Around noon on Monday, Sauschuck says officers responded to a call at the Northgate shopping plaza about a male who threatened three people with a handgun.

Fifty-eight-year-old Peter Shepard was carrying a loaded .45-caliber handgun under his shirt. Parts of the gun were painted pink, which Sauschuck says was meant to make it look like a toy.

"So Mr. Shepard was ultimately arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and we brought his firearm back here to the station as evidence," he says.

According to Sauschuck, had the incident happened just a few days later, police could only have told Shepard, who also stated he was carrying his gun to protect himself from police, to go home.

"One of our options is off the table," Sauschuck says. "So to think that Mr. Shepard is protecting himself from police officers with his altered firearm to make it look like a toy is going to walk back across the parking lot of a busy shopping plaza to go home, with that firearm, is disturbing."

Sauschuck says the law puts both law enforcement and citizens' lives in danger. Maine is now one of seven states with a constitutional carry law.