Maine governor signs concealed-carry measure

Acting with unusual bipartisan dispatch, the Legislature approved an emergency…

Acting with unusual bipartisan dispatch, the Legislature approved an emergency measure Tuesday to temporarily keep confidential the names of Maine residents who have permits to carry concealed guns. Gov. Paul LePage applauded lawmakers for their quick action and immediately signed the bill.

The measure was aimed at preventing publications from releasing personal information about gun owners, who comprise a major constituency for Democrats as well as Republicans in a rural state where hunting is common.

“In all my time serving in the Legislature, I cannot recall an issue that has generated such a passionate response from my constituents,” Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau of Winterport said after the vote.

The bill was prompted by a newspaper’s decision just a few days earlier to ask police departments across the state, through Maine’s Freedom of Access law, to provide names, addresses and ages of all of the state’s concealed-weapon permit holders. The Bangor Daily News had submitted its requests knowing that a pending bill in the Legislature would forbid such disclosures.

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