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Pingree And Golden Disagree On Gun Control Bill

J Scott Applewhite
AP Photo

Maine’s two Democratic representatives for Congress usually agree on most issues, but they do not align on a bill that would expand federal background checks on all gun sales, including most private transfers.

Second District Rep. Jared Golden says he supports background checks, but he says legislation being pushed by his party’s leadership goes too far and will not get needed Republican votes to pass.

“The Democrats are pursuing a bill that is unlikely to pass into law,” says Golden. “They could have, perhaps, gone after something that could have got support from across the aisle.”

Golden is worried the language will not get support among Senate Republicans. The bill has five House Republicans and five Democrats as co-sponsors.

First District Rep. Chellie Pingree supports the bill, saying it is a good compromise already. She says the provisions dealing with private sales can always be modified after the bill is passed.

“In my opinion, there is always a way to work out the smallest part of it that people don’t feel comfortable about, but within the overall picture of the way gun sales are changing,” says Pingree.

The legislation is similar to a statewide referendum rejected by Maine voters in 2016.

Even if it manages to pass both the U.S. House and Senate, President Trump is expected to veto the measure.

Updated 3:17 p.m. Feb. 27, 2019

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.