Doudera introduces bill for safe firearm storage

May 13, 2019
Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, presents her proposed safe storage bill to the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

Augusta — Reps. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, and Anne Perry, D-Calais, have introduced bills to protect children in homes where firearms are present. The bills received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety on Friday, May 10.

Doudera’s bill, LD 379, An Act To Protect Children by Requiring the Safe Storage of Loaded Firearms, requires that loaded firearms in homes with children under 16 be secured in a locked gun safe or with a trigger lock, to prevent children from gaining access to them. It also asks firearm dealers to post a warning that guns should be securely stored.

LD 1033, An Act To Protect Children from Accidental Injury Due to Unsafe Storage of Firearms, Perry’s bill, requires that firearms in houses with children and child care facilities be kept in a locked container or secured with a tamper- resistant device.

“Today, we took another step to protect the safety of Maine’s children,” said Doudera. “Firearms are the second leading cause of death in children in the United States, after motor vehicle crashes.  In the decade ending in 2016, more children died from gun injuries than from cancer.  Many of these deaths are the result of intentional gun violence, but the heartbreaking truth is that some of them are preventable because they are accidents that happen to children in their own homes.”

“This is a commonsense precaution to prevent needless tragedies,” Perry said. “We need to make sure kids don’t hurt themselves or others by playing with something they shouldn’t have access to.”

If passed, Maine would join 27 other states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in enacting safe-storage legislation.

“This law would not remove any person’s ability to own or purchase a gun. It does not take away second amendment rights,” said Doudera. “And, in the tragic case that a child is injured or killed in a firearm incident, their parents would be exempted from this law. Losing a child is punishment enough.”

“This law ensures that guns that are in a home where children are present are stored in a safe and responsible way,” added Doudera.

Doudera was inspired to present this legislation after hearing from mothers and students in the Camden area. In addition to her testimony, testimony was also presented by Mary Orear and Pearl Benjamin, of Camden.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a work session on Doudera’s bill in the coming days. It will then proceed to the full Legislature for a final vote.

Doudera is a member of the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and is serving her first term in the Maine House.  She represents Camden, Islesboro and Rockport.

Perry, a retired family nurse practitioner, is serving her sixth non-consecutive term in the Maine House.  She serves on the Health and Human Services Committee and represents Baileyville, Calais, Charlotte, Passamaquoddy Indian Township, Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point, Pembroke, Perry, Robbinston and Baring Plantation.

Photo caption: Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, presents her proposed safe storage bill to the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

 

Pearl Benjamin, of Camden, presents testimony at the safe storage bill public hearing May 10.
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