Democrat State Party Platforms – Kansas To Maryland

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Now that we have to wait on the FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, it is time to continue my series on party platforms. This post will look at the Democrat Party platforms for Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland. When I finish this series on the Democrats, I plan to do a similar one on Republican state party platforms.

Kansas

Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) signed permitless concealed-carry into law in 2015. Last year, campus carry was legalized as of July 1st. Bear this in mind when reading what Democratic Party of Kansas has to say on firearms.

From the addendum to their platform adopted in 2018.

Kansas Democrats believe guns have no place in public schools, in our colleges, universities, public libraries, or other public buildings.

We insist that firearms be carried only by those who have been properly trained and certified in their use, have passed a thorough background check, and have been licensed by the state.

In other words, they object to all the progress on gun rights passed in Kansas over the past few years.

Kentucky

The Democrat Party of Kentucky does not publish a platform on its webpage. According to Ballotpedia, they merely adopt the national Democrat Party’s platform. Some Kentucky Democrats have suggested a platform but I can’t find any evidence of one being adopted. The national platform has this to say about “gun violence” (sic).

With 33,000 Americans dying every year, Democrats believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe. To build on the success of the lifesaving Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, we will expand and strengthen background checks and close dangerous loopholes in our current laws; repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) to revoke the dangerous legal immunity protections gun makers and sellers now enjoy; and keep weapons of war—such as assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines (LCAM’s)—off our streets. We will fight back against attempts to make it harder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to revoke federal licenses from law breaking gun dealers, and ensure guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists, intimate partner abusers, other violent criminals, and those with severe mental health issues. There is insufficient research on effective gun prevention policies, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must have the resources it needs to study gun violence as a public health issue.

Louisiana

Like Kentucky, the Democrat Party of Louisiana does not publish a platform on its webpage. Again, like Kentucky, it merely adopts the national Democrat Party’s platform. A search of their website for “platform” turns up only elections to the platform committee of the national convention. I’m sure most in Louisiana do not agree with the national party’s platform regarding firearms. That might explain why there is only one Democrat congressman from Louisiana and Gov. John Bel Edwards ran for election on a pro-2A platform.

Maine

Maine used to be a state where the Democrats were pro-gun and most of the state outside of southern Maine is still relatively pro-gun. Voters in Maine did turn down a Bloomberg sponsored and financed referendum calling for universal background checks. Moreover, the state joined New Hampshire and Vermont in approving permitless or constitutional concealed carry. However, the platform of the Democratic Party of Maine does contain calls for more gun control even if they call it gun safety (sic).

Firearms are explicitly mentioned in two sections of the platform. First, under “Health Care”:

d. Support for programs that increase gun safety

And then under “Freedom, Safety, and National Security”:

5. Ensures responsible gun ownership in accordance with the 2nd Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution and works to strengthen background checks for every firearm sale within the
State of Maine and promotes the restoration of gun safety research..

As Democratic state party platforms go, that is relatively weak stuff.

Maryland

Given that Maryland has a plethora of gun control laws including requiring a class in order to purchase a handgun, a mag ban, and a ban on modern sporting rifles, it should be surprising that the Maryland Democrats have come up with even more things they want in the name of “gun safety” (sic). Sadly, it isn’t. The Maryland Democratic Party devotes a full webpage in their Issues section to gun control.

Gun Safety

Democrats support Americans’ Second Amendment guaranteed rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

We also believe the government should pass sensible laws that stem gun crimes, violence that too often destroys families and communities. A staggering 89 percent of unintentional, fatal shootings of children occur in the home.

Guns and domestic abusers are a deadly combination.

Of women killed by men, more than 90 percent are killed by a man they knew personally.

At least 62 percent are killed by an intimate partner. Over the past 25 years, more intimate partner homicides have been carried out with guns than with all other weapons combined.

No law will prevent all gun crimes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t implement sensible gun regulations that strike a balance between liberty and safety.

Currently the law prohibits a convicted domestic abuser from purchasing or possessing a gun, but the law does not provide a timeline for forfeiture or a requirement of proof of forfeiture.

General Assembly Democrats are leading the fight to require abusers to forfeit guns within 48 hours and to give notice of forfeiture within 5 days.

I searched their webpage for any mention of the murder rate in Baltimore, gang violence, or even crime (other than “gun crimes”) and I couldn’t find anything. I guess it is easier to go after domestic abusers who are already banned under Federal law (Lautenberg Amendment) from possessing a firearm than it is to attack criminal gangs and drug-related crime in Baltimore.

“Don’t NYC My Maine Gun Rights”

My late father lived in Maine for many years after he retired from the Army. Even though he was a born and bred Tar Heel he was accepted by the locals. He lived in Medomak which is on Muscongus Bay.

I spent my (first) honeymoon in the Rangeley Region at a camp on Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Rosanne and I gave serious consideration to moving to Maine. We joined the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and took a local paper. We never did make the move but I still love the State of Maine. I guess that is why I am so afraid for them with Bloomberg’s money trying to buy gun control there.

Ginny Simone does a good job of showing how Bloomberg and his money is trying to buy the election. I’m glad that there are organizations like the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. politicians like Gov. Paul LePage, and others like my friend Genie Jennings who will be speaking at GRPC fighting this tooth and nail.

Constitutional Carry And Switchblades?!

I knew yesterday was the first day of constitutional carry in the state of Maine. Rob Vance and I celebrated that with an update to Every Picture Tells A Story.

What I didn’t know and found out this morning it was the first day that switchblades became legal in Maine.

October 15, 2015: Maine’ LD 264, “An Act To Restore the Right To Possess Certain Knives That Are Used by Many Citizens as Tools,” repealing the state’s ban on switchblade (automatic) knives is now in effect. Maine is the ninth state to allow switchblades since Knife Rights started it Sharper Future™ campaign six years ago.

Automatic knives are now legal for civilians without restriction in 28 states, and legal with various restrictions in 10 more. Nine of those 28 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a automatic knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of automatic knife bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. In Oklahoma,this year Knife Rights’ legalized concealed carry of an switchblade (automatic) knife which goes into effect on November 1st.

Seeing both of these efforts pass gives me hope for Maine. They will be inundated with Bloomberg’s money as he and his evil minions try to get a referendum on universal background checks put on the ballot. Mainers are a tough lot and not easily swayed by false emotion. I hope the same will prove true of all the newer in-migrants from places like Massachusetts and New York.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Three

Four years ago Rob Vance and I collaborated on a post showing the progress of concealed carry from 1986 through 2011. The post was anchored by a graphic that showed the growth in shall-issue carry and constitutional carry as a percentage of the United State population. At that time, approximately two-thirds of all Americans lived in a state that allowed either shall-issue or constitutional carry. In other words, shall-issue had become the new normal as it continues to be.

Effective October 15th, Maine becomes the seventh state to have constitutional carry. Rob thought now would be a good time to revisit this advancement of freedom and gun rights. I agree because that two-thirds of all Americans in 2011 has become three-fourths of all Americans in 2015.

As Rob explains:

The sea change in the legal status of concealed carry in the United States described below in graphic form follows a still ongoing grass roots effort at the state level, yet with national implications. There is now a fundamental recognition by the American public that giving advantages to criminals over law-abiding citizens, by means of law, is a logical and moral error. This realization has driven the liberalization of state level laws regarding concealed carry since Florida led the way in the modern era beginning in 1987. Twenty-six years later, Illinois became the last state with a de jure ban on concealed carry – passing “shall issue” legislation allowing legalized concealed carry for its citizens as a result of losing Moore v. Madigan and Shepard v. Madigan in the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. First permits under the new law were issued in 2014 in that state. The restoration of this fundamental freedom will continue by legislation where we can and by litigation where we cannot.

The two biggest changes shown in the graphic below are the addition of Illinois to the shall-issue column and the growth of constitutional carry from just two small states (Vermont and Alaska) to a total of seven today.

Rob and I are working on an update to Every Picture Tells A Story, Part Two as well as new effort called The Next Wave. This new effort will examine the growth of constitutional carry and its chances in states where it has been introduced but either not passed or vetoed by the governor.

Given that neither Rob nor I believe in hiding our data nor how we put things into categories, you can see it in this appendix.

As of October 15, 2015 here’s the box score in detail state by
state:
Unrestricted Carry States (5.1 %
US population)
Alaska,
Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Maine (as of 10/15/15), Vermont, and Wyoming
Shall Issue States (67.5 %
US population)
Alabama,
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin
May Issue States (27 %
US population)
California (some counties are
effectively No Issue, and others are much more permissive), Connecticut (*since
2013 I have accounted this as May Issue, as local conditions have changed from
permissive to much less so), Delaware, District of Columbia (obviously not a
state, but treated as one for this analysis), Maryland, Massachusetts, New
Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island
No Issue State (.4 %
US population)
Hawaii (the legal status of Hawaii
is such that while permits are legally available, none are issued, which is why
it is counted as No Issue in this analysis, rather than fitting into the May
Issue category which it’s legislation warrants).
A word or two on definition of terms used in this analysis/graphic:
UNRESTRICTED: no permit is required
to carry a concealed firearm, aka Constitutional Carry
SHALL ISSUE: permit required but
the state is obligated to issue a permit if the applicant meets certain
criteria (age, no felony record, no drug arrests, etc.); i.e., the state has no
discretion.
MAY ISSUE: permit required but
local authorities (e.g. sheriffs’ offices) have discretion in the form of
requirements above and beyond what the state requires.
NO ISSUE: private citizens are
effectively prohibited from carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home
Find the detail data here:
See also:
Thanks also to Jeff Dege at 
http://www.gun-nuttery.com.

As Maine Goes…

There is an old saying that says, “As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation.” One could only help that they continue being a bellweather state when it comes to gun rights.

Today, Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) signed LD 652 which makes Maine the latest constitutional carry state. While constitutional carry went into effect on July 1st in Kansas, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) vetoed a similar constitutional carry bill on Monday. She had promised the Demanding Mommies she’d veto the law when it crossed her desk.

The text of the bill can be found here. It will go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns for the session.

The NRA-ILA just released a couple of news items on the bill’s signing. They can be found here and here.

Mainiacs With Switchblades? Ayuh!

Congratulations to Knife Rights and thanks to those in Maine legislature who voted to repeal the ban on automatic knives aka switchblades. Knife Rights reports that Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) signed LD 264, “An Act To Restore the Right To Possess Certain Knives That Are Used by Many Citizens as Tools”, which repealed the state’s ban on switchblade knives. Gov. LePage signed the bill on Thursday and it will go into effect 90 days from the end of the legislative session.

The bill’s text is about as simple as can be:

1 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
2 Sec. 1. 17-A MRSA §1055, as amended by PL 2011, c. 464, §18, is repealed.
3 SUMMARY
4 This bill repeals the provision of law making possession or distribution of dangerous
5 knives a Class D crime.

The vote on the bill in the House was 120 yea, 24 nay, and 7 absent. The Senate had a voice vote in concurrence.

 From Knife Rights (in part):

Knife Rights would like to thank and congratulate LD 264 sponsor Representative Joel Stetkis for his leadership in passing LD 264. As a freshman legislator it means a lot to us that Knife Rights’ victories in repealing bans in seven states previously gave Rep. Stetkis the inspiration and confidence to take on Maine’s ban as one of his first legislative efforts.

The new law takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns, so we can’t really give you a date at this point.

Automatic knives are now legal for civilians without restriction in 27 states, and legal with various restrictions in 10 more. Eight of those 27 states have been added by Knife Rights since 2010. Knife Rights passed the nation’s first repeal of a automatic knife ban in 2010 in New Hampshire and has since passed repeal of automatic knife bans (and repealed other knife restrictions) in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

Rep. Stetkis is a self-employed building contractor from Canaan, ME. I imagine as a builder he has used a knife a time or two as a tool.

Background Check Veto Upheld In Maine

The Maine State Legislature passed a universal background checks bill on June 19th in what was considered a surprise vote. The bill had been defeated twice before in the State Senate.

In a surprise vote Wednesday, the Maine Senate passed a bill that creates civil penalties for those who sell guns in private sales to people who are prohibited from having them.

The legislation imposes a civil fine of $500 if a gun seller does not perform a background check and the buyer is later discovered to be a prohibited person.

The bill, LD 1240, was first watered down by the Senate, but on Tuesday, the House of Representatives sent the original measure back to the Senate. The Senate approved the bill on a 18-17 vote, with two rural Democrats joining Republicans in the minority on the measure.

Fortunately for Maine gun owners, Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME) was true to his word and vetoed the bill. He said the bill only impacted honest gun owners and for that reason he vetoed the bill.

Yesterday, the Maine State House voted to uphold the governor’s veto in a 77-71 vote. The gun prohibitionists in the State House are now threatening to go to a referendum to pass the measure and cite the misleading poll number from an anti-gun push poll.

The background-check bill, L.D. 1240, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, would have created a civil violation for selling a gun to a person prohibited from owning a gun, such as a convicted felon.


It originally was a sweeping bill that would have mandated background checks before all gun purchases. His bill passed narrowly in the Legislature earlier this month, and the House upheld the veto in a 77-71 vote on Wednesday.


In his veto message, LePage said the bill was focused “on those who would choose to obey the law, and for that reason I believe it misses the target.”


“This is an issue that may need to go straight to our citizens,” Dion said in a statement after the vote. “The governor described my bill as ‘well-meaning,’ but public policy requires more than intentions, it requires action.”


Dion was referring to a potential referendum on the matter: J. Thomas Franklin, president of Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, a pro-gun control group, said last week that it is considering bringing a citizens’ initiative to ask Maine voters to decide on mandatory background checks in 2014.

Searching the Maine register of lobbyists, I cannot find any that represent Mayor Bloomberg’s Illegal Mayors nor any that represent other gun prohibitionist group. I am going to assume that Bloomberg didn’t employ his full court press like he did in Colorado and Nevada.

Still that a state like Maine with a long tradition of protecting gun rights would have even considered such a bill – much less passed one – is disappointing. Maine, like the rest of northern New England, is changing and, in my opinion, not for the better.