Emergency Legislation To Temporarily Block Release Of Concealed Firearms Permit Holders - Feb. 15, 2013
AUGUSTA - In a bipartisan effort to ensure safety for all Mainers, Governor Paul R. LePage submitted an emergency bill to temporarily block the release of concealed firearms permit holders' names, addresses and dates of birth to the public.
The legislation, if passed as an emergency measure, is in response to the Bangor Daily News' Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request made to police departments across Maine on Feb. 13.
The paper sought to have law enforcement agencies make available to them, the records of concealed weapons permits, including the names, addresses and dates of birth of permit holders maintained by the town or the police department.
The letter sent to police department's stated, "The Bangor Daily News does not intend to publish wholesale identifying information included in this list."
A firestorm of reaction followed when the story went public on Thursday. The newspaper rescinded its FOAA request Friday morning.
The Legislature could enact the emergency legislation, which is being sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader, Senator Troy Jackson, as early as Tuesday of next week. This would provide immediate protection for law-abiding concealed weapon permit holders while providing the Legislature time to properly consider Representative Corey Wilson's bill (LD 345), which would make this information permanently private.
"We must take immediate action to protect Mainers' personal information, while allowing debate on Representative Wilson's bill to proceed on the merits," said Governor LePage. "I hope the Legislature will act quickly to pass this bill and put the concerns of law-abiding Mainers at ease."
Emergency legislation, after enactment by the Legislature, takes effect immediately upon signature by the Governor. Additionally, a bill may be engrossed without reference to a committee under suspension of the Joint Rules.
That means that the bill goes directly to the floor of the appropriate body for discussion and action. Engrossing without reference usually occurs when the bill is of an emergency nature and the time to go through the public hearing process is not available.