I support the Second Amendment and favor responsible gun ownership for hunting and protection of property. I do not support the National Rifle Association.
Like most citizens, I believe government has a vital role to play in protecting the safety and well-being of citizens. The prevalence of guns -- particularly the type that are modified to fire multiple rounds and outgun local law enforcement -- is a problem in many areas of our country and is fair game for reasonable regulation.
We're talking about unregistered assault rifles, machine guns and other munitions modified to escape regulation, not rifles, muskets, handguns and other firearms used by Americans for legitimate uses like protection of property or hunting. I don't believe every teenager should be allowed to buy an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle at a gun show.
In 2004, the NRA lobbied for the Stand Your Ground law used to justify the killing of an unarmed black youth in Florida. It is lobbying for similar legislation in other states. It stopped the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. It's a divisive, extremist group that's out of step even with pro-gun Mainers. My campaign will not seek nor accept its support.
By contrast, I've been virtually alone in casting numerous votes against loosening gun restrictions in Maine, with the Legislature having voted to allow citizens to bring guns to the State House and state parks as well as their automobiles, where they can easily be stolen and used by criminals.
Democrats have a choice. I respect Maine's hunting culture and respect the Second Amendment, but believe reasonable regulation of assault weapons and other killing-spree type weapons is an appropriate role of government. Protecting the safety and welfare of people and communities is not something we should let the NRA highjack, and I will stand up to the NRA when it promotes policies that are outside the mainstream. Voters should choose a candidate who represents them, not the NRA.