Bill to allow guns in Maine State House advances

April 17, 2011

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AUGUSTA, Maine—A bill that would allow guns in the Maine State House has been narrowly endorsed by a legislative committee, even as efforts continue to bolster security in the Capitol.

The proposal sponsored by Republican Rep. Dale Crafts of Lisbon would allow concealed-weapon permit holders to bring guns into the State House, the state office building that's connected by tunnel and nearby parking areas. Maine Today Media says the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 7-4 to recommend passage of the bill on Friday, setting the stage for floor debate.

Supporters say gun owners have a right to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms even in state buildings. Opponents say the bill doesn't fix any problem. And a Republican leader notes that schoolchildren come to the State House all of the time.