King Meets with Sportsmen to Talk Guns

Last Friday at his Brunswick home, U.S. Senator Angus King met with Dave Trahan of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Don Kleiner of the Maine Professional Guides Association, and me to talk about guns. Joining us for the 1 ½ hour discussion were two of Angus’s top staff, Kay Rand and Toby McGrath.

While the discussion was confidential, I can say I was impressed with the detailed questions Angus asked, and the information and advice that Dave and Don provided. Of course, I offered my thoughts as well. We talked about school security and mental health issues too.

I know that Angus has a good understanding of the gun issues, and trust that he will sort through the bombast and rhetoric to get to the solutions that will address the problem of violence in our society. If this is just about guns, we will have failed.

A POLITICO column by Katie Glueck reported today on remarks Angus made on CBS’s “CBS This Morning.”

“The assault weapon ban is a tough one because it’s hard to define what an assault weapon is,” said Angus. “And if we’re just defining it by what it looks like, that doesn’t do much for me. I’m much more interested in the functionality and whether that’s really a different weapon than my buddies’ semi-automatic hunting rifles.”

Angus called for a comprehensive approach to this problem and expressed interest in mandatory background checks and stronger penalties for people who lie on their background check applications.

“The biggest issue to me is the size of magazines. That’s sort of the common thread that connects a lot of these massacres,” he said.

All of these comments mirror the discussion that Dave, Don, and I had with Angus last week, and give me confidence that he will continue to ask good questions and look for comprehensive solutions to this and other problems.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.