Support accountability for gun owners

Jan 24, 2019

New state Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, is to be commended for putting forth a bill that would hold gun owners accountable for safe storage of their weapons.

The bill she has proposed is "An act to protect children by requiring safe storage of loaded firearms."

The bill would require that loaded firearms be secured in a locked gun safe or with a trigger lock to prevent children from gaining access to them. It also would make it a Class E crime to improperly store a loaded firearm that a child gains access to without permission from a parent or guardian and is used to commit a crime, in a reckless or threatening manner. It would also require firearm dealers to post a warning that firearms must be properly secured.

Doudera offered us some her thoughts on the bill, saying:

"Research shows that easily accessible, poorly stored firearms in the house pose a clear risk to the safety of children and are associated with an increase of both suicide and accidental deaths of our youth. Despite what parents think, children -- even very young children -- know where adults keep their guns, and when firearms are not safely or securely stored, tragedies happen -- like the accidental shooting death of an 8-year-old boy in Oakland in August."

She said similar laws exist in 27 states, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

"I understand that gun ownership is woven into the fabric of life in Maine, and this bill is not about taking away anyone's 2nd Amendment rights," she said. "It's about protecting Maine children and keeping them safe."

She said she has support on both sides of the aisle and her co-sponsor is a Republican senator who used to work in law enforcement.

This seems like commonsense legislation aimed at keeping people safe. We support her effort and hope this bill is approved and signed into law.

Post Office needs attitude adjustment

We continue to marvel at the defiant attitude displayed by officials of the U.S. Postal Service concerning fire safety at the Rockland Post Office.

On Dec. 20, Fire Chief Chris Whytock found the post office filled with smoke and, despite his title, was not able to gain cooperation from postal officials. They initially refused to evacuate the building, and the postal service now informs Whytock that he does not have the authority to enforce safety codes in the federally owned building.

He has reported that the building had no smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors and the fire extinguishers are overdue for inspection. Instead of trying to fix these problems, the postal service would rather engage in a childish argument, saying, "You're not the boss of me!"

Meanwhile the general public that uses the post office every business day may be in danger, not to mention those who rent space there. If there is a major fire there in the near future and these problems have not been corrected, our guess is that the lawyers serving those who are injured or lost will have no problem getting to the bottom of who is responsible, and the fact that the postal service had been publicly warned and openly defiant will likely not play well before juries.

However, we would like to avoid that, so could whoever needs to get over themselves, upgrade the alarms and extinguishers, and let the community know that the building is safe?

Moving forward, let's all start acting like grownups when it comes to fire safety.

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