- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A bill overhauling Maine’s concealed handgun permit system has cleared its first hurdle in the House of Representatives.

The Democratic-led House voted 82-54 to give initial approval to the bill on Thursday.

Currently, people can get concealed handgun permits either through state police, their local police chief or selectmen and other municipal officials. The bill would limit municipalities’ ability to issue permits to only those that have a full-time police chief.

Under the bill, state police would also manage all background and mental health checks and create a confidential centralized database of permit holders.

The House rejected an amendment that would have allowed all Mainers who are not otherwise prohibited to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.

The proposal faces further House and Senate votes.

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