One of the many bright spots in the 2016 elections for supporters of the Second Amendment was the defeat of Question 3 in Maine. The question was portrayed as relatively straightforward. From ballotpedia:
Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity?Question 3 was more complicated in reality. It was three full pages long. You may read the entire proposition in a pdf file at this maine.gov page:
It does not matter much now. A large group of independent minded Maine citizens rose up against the out of state money spent by Michael Bloomberg. They defeated his gun control agenda. The NRA was able to send a million dollars to defend Maine's Citizens' rights.
As with all the propositions pushed by Michael Bloomberg, the proposition was much more concerned with setting up the prerequisites for more infringements in the future than any attempt to reduce crime.
Question 3 set up a future registration system. It could have required "background checks" without requiring permanent records. Instead, it required that every firearm be recorded by serial number on permanent federal paperwork.
It banned 18 to 20 year old citizens from legally acquiring pistols. That right had existed in Maine since it became a state. There was no exemption in Question 3 for young adults that were in law enforcement or the military.
Bloomberg spent more than four million dollars. From wlbz2.com:
Trahan is rallying sportsmen and sport shooters in an attempt to defeat Question 3. Spending on the "Yes" side of the Question is Bloomberg driven and amounts to more than four million dollars. Most of the "No" money has come from the National Rifle Association and amounts to one million dollars.The proposition was very similar to the proposition 594 in Washington State. Second Amendment supporters learned from that disaster in fighting Michael Bloomberg in Maine. Much of the difficulty was the full court press by those pushing population disarmament. With propositions in four states, the effort was split. It is difficult to compete with a billionaire who can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a whim.
Maine citizens refused to allow their rights to be purchased by a New York City billionaire. They were outspent by four to one. As many people voted against question 3 as voted for both the Republican candidate (Trump) and the Libertarian (Johnson).
Question 3 lost 52% (390,200) to 48% (359,733).
Maine won. Bloomberg lost.
In Washington State, with Proposition 594, the question was confused by a competing proposition, 595. Proposition 595 would have essentially nullified proposition 594. The complication was too much to explain to the voters with a limited budget. A split in the vote happened in Washington State. It could have happened in Maine.
With the small government vote split between the Republicans and the Libertarians, Trump did not carry the southern electoral district in Maine. Trump received 332,591 votes, Johnson 37,578. Together they totaled 370,169.
Hillary Clinton received 352,485, Stein 14,006. Together they totaled 366,491.
The lesson form Maine for Second Amendment supporters: keep the choices simple and obvious. Do not split the small government vote.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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