1/31/18, by James Mosher,
Almost three thousand years ago, a nation was in dire straits. Her warriors had spent days gathered in battlefield formation, hungry, tired, and psychologically defeated. The enemy possessed an unfair advantage named Goliath. Most of us are somewhat familiar with the story, so let me fast forward to my favorite part; “…David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword” (1Sam. 17:50-51).
The testament of David’s courage and faith is hearty wisdom for those times in life that are truly demoralizing. I thought of David as I drove home from last Wednesday’s public hearing on LD 1761:
“An Act Regarding the Prohibition on the Possession of a Firearm on School Property”
My kids and I patiently listened as we observed the arguments presented for and against the bill.
Rep. John Martin and Rep. Patrick Corey were the only ones to deliver public testimonies before the committee in favor of LD 1761.
Rep. Martin led off with a point about the “two Maine problem”. He described the driving demands of Aroostook County and highlighted the parameters of Maine statute regarding firearms and school zones. He aptly described the absurdity of compliance for those gun-toting parents who are encountering the cumbersome constraints of Maine statute during drop off and pick up of their children; the 500 ft. buffer zone poses quite an obstacle for some.
The Representative from Eagle Lake referred to the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990 (it was rejected by the US Supreme Court and revised because of Congressional overreach) and denoted that LD 1761 is in full compliance with federal standard with one caveat:
“The person is dropping off or picking up a student and remains in the vehicle,” Rep. Martin said.
Currently, Maine statute prohibits carrying a firearm within 500 feet of school property (with a few narrow provisions).
Rep. Martin finalized his remarks with a demand for an apology. He was accused of advocating for guns in schools by some Portland progressives and was rather upset about that.
Rep. Martin was asked a question by Republican Rep. Beth Turner of Burlington, regarding the legitimacy of the bill. Turner had concerns about a possible violation of the Maine Legislatures’ joint rules. Rule 217 provides standards for the reintroduction of bills. Apparently, Rep. Martin has tried this one before. He quickly dismissed the concern and referred to the Legislative Council’s guidance and approval.
Rep. Corey of Windham began his statement with criticisms.
“I’ll admit, this bill’s title could be a heck of a lot more specific,” Rep. Corey said. “When Representative Martin approached me about cosponsoring this bill on Bill Signing Day, you bet I had questions and read it several times, especially knowing that a very similar bill was presented in this committee last year.”
Rep. Corey reiterated the point about convenience for gun-owning parents dropping off and picking up their children. He added that LD 1761 is compliant with the GFSZA of 1990 and described it as a statute “that most would agree is well-intentioned.”
David Trahan, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, did not speak publicly but did provide written testimony. Here’s the gist of his position:
“LD 1761, would provide an important exemption for the possession of a ﬁrearm in a motor vehicle on public school property, or the property of an approved private school while dropping off or picking up a student,” Trahan wrote. “This legislation would protect law-abiding gun owners from inadvertently violating the law while dropping—off and picking up their children from school…a new layer of protection for the general public.”
Their testimonies against LD 1761 were followed by a well-represented group of individuals (i.e., Sen. Breen, the Maine School Board Association, the Maine Principal’s Association, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, a handful of superintendents, and a few concerned parents).
The progressive army turned out in droves. There was some crying and lots of whining centered around the primacy of maintaining “gun free zones.”
Republican Sen. Brian Langley of Hancock is the committee chair. He mentioned the importance of presenting new ideas and not droning on with rehashed testimony.
Some people just don’t listen! Even after a number of the testimonies referenced three new school shootings this week (in Ohio, Texas, and Kentucky) they continued to belabor the notion of remaining “gun free.”
Finally, yours truly presented testimony of “neither for nor against.”
I have reached out to the NRA for their official position on LD 1761. As of this writing, they have not claimed a position.
My previous column on the issue has come under some “friendly fire.”
The contention boils down to simply this: if this bill passes, law-abiding parents can drop their kids off to and from school without running afoul of the law. It was suggested that “baby steps” in the right direction are appropriate in the “long game” of advancing 2nd Amendment liberties. Sometimes it may even be necessary to “massage the legislative process” in an effort to achieve the ultimate goal of amplified liberty.
I submit that I respect the gentleman who gave me this advice. He is a well-known advocate of gun rights here in Maine. He is very knowledgeable and articulate on the subject because he is a general in the movement.
Although his argument is valid, I submit that we don’t have the luxury of time. Our world is a mess.
Now more than ever Americans need to cling to their God and advocate for their right to defend themselves.
Simply put, I am a dad who gives a sh!t about the future my kids will inherit.
It is my job to work diligently today so that they continue to be free tomorrow.
I disagree with the method of appeasement and here is why:
In my activism, I have been engaged in many issues over the years where liberty has been constrained. I have witnessed firsthand the left’s unfair advantage. Most of them are employed in the public sector. While we commoners are busy working to put bread on the table, progressives are running circles around us. They can afford to take time off from “work” and to lobby for their pet projects like solar panels, school budgets, the Refugee Racket, etc. because they are being compensated. Handsomely so!
They do this all in the name of compassion either for the earth or for people. I refuse to eat at the table they have set because I know the truth; they are not compassionate. They are, however, extremely coercive!
Instead of lowering the bar, how about presenting a strong personality to articulate the cause and to rally the troops? You know, somebody like David.
Truth is a powerful weapon. Jesus said it best, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I believe Him.
Instead of taking the crumbs that they leave for us, I propose we flip the table.
Case in point:
After hearing all the sobs about “gun free,” I began my testimony with, “you can’t get a more progressive utopian concept than ‘gun free,’ and yet we have two dead and eighteen injured in Benton, Kentucky. The murder happened in a gun free zone. And all the others (i.e., Sandy Hook, etc.) were also gun free zones.”
So, next time we have the chance…
(1) Let us propose worthwhile legislation that makes real lasting changes to current constraints on 2nd Amendment liberties.
(2) Constantly hammer away at the lies. Show up at the hearings and preach the truth, even when nobody cares. Consistently hold legislators accountable with letters, e-mails, and phone calls. Show up at the State House to confront them with the issues and maintain accurate record keeping of all the activity. When the next catastrophe happens in Maine, we can use the truth to convince our neighbors to do the right thing. When there is enough of us to counter the force of the progressive army, we vote them out in the next election cycle.
(3) Cultivate champions among family, friends, and neighbors; never except halfhearted, lukewarm, pukes. Only the best will do!
(4) Study and pray…carpe diem!