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Maine Legislative Leaders Reject Bills To Arm Teachers, Impose More Gun Control

Mal Leary
Maine Public
Windham Republican Rep. Patrick Corey argues Tuesday in favor of his bill for a $20 million bond for school security.

Leaders of the Maine Legislature Tuesday night agreed to allow bills aimed at boosting security at public schools to be considered this session, but refused to allow in a pair of bills aimed at limiting the damage a gun can do.

School safety was the issue leaders could agree on. They approved consideration of a $20 million bond issue to go to the voters for boosting school security. Windham Republican Rep. Patrick Corey sponsored that bill.

“People are looking for solutions out of us, and they are looking for a way to fund it," Corey said. "And I think putting out a bond issue is the best way to do this.”

Leaders also allowed in a bill that would require prioritizing school security upgrades for any borrowing from the school renovation fund.

Sen. Rebecca Millett, a South Portland Democrat, sponsored that bill. “We certainly want to support our schools in their efforts to use best practices and make necessary investments for the safety of our children.”

Sen. Garrett Mason, a Lisbon Falls Republican who serves as Senate majority leader questioned how the bill would work.  “Your intention with this bill is just to make it very clear in the law that when one is applying for the revolving loan fund, that security would be the first thing that should be and would be considered?" he asked.

"That’s correct,” Millett responded.

But leaders rejected bills to allow school districts to arm school personnel, including teachers, ban high capacity ammunition magazines and outlaw bump-stocks that allow semi-automatic rifles to operate like a machine gun.

House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Freeport Democrat, said more gun-related bills will likely be considered. “I just want to note that I think that there is a lot of opportunity for us to work together, in both the short term and the long term, in protecting our kids.”