- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers have a day full of hearings on gun legislation including a bill to prohibit the creation of a firearms registry.

The Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to begin considering 11 bills Friday sponsored by Republicans and Democrats. The bills address concealed carry, gun sales and the presence of guns at voting places and hospitals.

“We don’t generally have to register with the government in order to practice our rights,” said Republican Rep. Patrick Corey.

His bill would prevent state entities from keeping a list, or registry, of privately owned firearms and their owners, with exceptions for firearms used in and people convicted of violent life-threatening crimes.

Corey said his bill is based on a law in Rhode Island, one of at least eight states that prohibit gun registries. Federal law prohibits the use of a national background check system to create a firearm registry.

After the Friday hearings, committees will schedule work sessions where they may issue recommendations to the Legislature.

The National Rifle Association has reported spending only about $1,700 so far this year on lobbying in Maine. Last year, voters rejected a ballot referendum requiring background checks for private gun sales and transfers.

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CONCEALED CARRY

Lawmakers are offering tweaks to a 2015 law, allowing adults over 21 to carry concealed handguns without a permit.

Republican Sen. Eric Brakey wants to lower that age to 18.

Two other bills would repeal laws requiring people carrying a concealed handgun to inform a law enforcement officer during detainment or routine traffic stop.

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GUN USE, CONFISCATION

Republican Sen. Paul Davis wants to make it a crime to discharge a firearm within 300 feet of a state-owned boat launching ramp. His other bill would allow municipally funded hospitals to restrict firearms on their property.

Dangerous weapons wouldn’t be allowed in voting places or municipal public meetings, under Democratic Rep. John Spear’s bill. The measure would exclude the handguns of on-duty law enforcement officers.

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FIREARMS SALES

Democrats are sponsoring bills to require firearms safety training for gun purchasers and gun locks with every firearm that a dealer sells at retail.

Under Republican Rep. Lance Harvell’s bill, a firearms dealer who “sells, lets or loans a firearm” would no longer be required to show a copy of a federally required document to a law enforcement officer or prosecutor.

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