The sponsor of a bill that would allow parents to drive onto school property with a gun in their vehicle has asked a legislative committee to kill the measure, but it will still face debate in the legislature.
Maine House Democrat John Martin of Eagle Lake represents a sprawling district in rural Aroostook County, where he says it’s not uncommon for a parent who has been hunting to then drop of his or her child at school with a rifle in the pickup. He says that is why he sponsored the bill, but Martin says opponents have used scare tactics to thwart his measure, sending out an email to school leaders across the state.
“Which basically said this bill is going to allow guns in school, which is a bald-faced lie,” says Martin. “And so I attempted to correct it, but of course it went viral at that point. So there… with the conditions and things that are going on now, it is not the time to deal with the issue.”
Martin has asked the Education Committee to kill the bill. But Rep. Beth Turner, a republican from Burlington, voted for the measure anyway, sending it to the House for a vote. Martin expects that the bill will be defeated, but plans to address the issue again in the next session.
“He keeps trying to get an opening hoping that it will get through when people are not paying attention,” Nick Wilson, executive director of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition. “So we have been paying very close attention and we have been hearing from just literally hundreds of parents and teachers worried about guns on school property.”
Wilson says his group is taking nothing for granted and will lobby hard to defeat Martin’s bill this session, and in future sessions. He says there is no reason to allow guns on school grounds.