It’s Time to Educate your Legislators about Guns!

Here’s your chance to make an important contribution to the free-ranging debate about guns. Contact your State Representative and Senator and urge them to attend the Legislative Gun Education Workshop scheduled on February 7 from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s Augusta headquarters.

While the Sheriff’s Association and other police agencies sponsored a gun workshop for legislators a couple weeks ago, it was lightly attended. There’s a lot more educating to do if Maine legislators are to debate these issues in a knowledgeable and thoughtful way.

SAM’s announcement notes that, “the workshop will give legislators an opportunity to learn everything there is to know about firearms and state and federal gun laws. In addition, legislators will have an opportunity to handle and fire pistols and rifles at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club in Augusta.”

I really like that idea! But I was glad to read that legislators will be limited to firing .22 caliber rifles and handguns, under the supervision of the Chief Range Safety Officers. A group of legislators blasting away with automatic weapons would be scary!

But they will see them fired. “We plan to demonstrate an automatic and a semi-automatic firearm,” reports SAM’s executive director Dave Trahan.

I am particularly impressed with the list of sponsors for the workshop: Senators Seth Goodall, Troy Jackson, and Michael Thibodeau, and Representatives Jeff McCabe and Ken Fredette. All are in legislative leadership positions, indicating that they too understand the need to educate their troops on these complicated issues.

The workshop has also attracted an outstanding group of presenters including some of the state’s top firearms instructors and Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills.

No matter what your position is on gun issues, you have to recognize that ignorance is not the answer. The more that legislators know about guns, the better their decisions will be on gun legislation.

Please. Make sure the legislators who represent you in Augusta participate in this important workshop.

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, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.