Thursday, November 5, 2015

Open Carry Gun Nuts Intimidate Voters Exiting Maine Polls To Sign #GunControl Petition

Mourners after mass shooting at a movie in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. Photo: Ed Andrieski, AP

Voters in Maine on Tuesday passed campaign funding reform by referendum as well as a milestone in intimidation at the polls. As the Portland Press Herald reported of efforts to chill the gathering of signatures to get a background check gun control measure on next November's ballot:
A group that was videotaping voters at polling places Tuesday morning is being criticized for intimidating people who were considering whether to sign petitions. Some of the videotapers from Project Dirigo engaged voters and signature-gatherers about whether universal background checks for gun purchases are right for Maine. Other Project Dirigo members didn’t interact while they used a small video camera to record the signature-gathering.
Laws pertaining to freedom of expression at polls do not address what happens after voters emerge, and the legal experts conceded there was no law against the videotaping or asking petition signers for their names and home addresses. My guess is someone is drafting that law right now.

Gun violence is a problem that has grown to almost unbelievable proportions in the U.S. Here's the BBC's reckoning of the toll just for the first 3/4 of this year:

US gun crime in 2015

Figures up to 1 October

Mass shootings
  • 45 shootings at schools
  • 9,956 people killed in gun incidents
  • 20,000 people injured in gun incidents
Maine's branch of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America needs to gather 61,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot. It would ask voters whether or not they want to require a background check for all gun purchases in the state. This would close loopholes that currently allow gun purchases without background checks in certain venues such as gun shows. 

Seems sensible in light of the cold facts about death by guns in the U.S. as compared with other nations. Armed madhouse, indeed.
Source: Global Burden of Disease Study. Access a data visualization here:
REVISED: Just found this news that the petition drive on election day was quite successful, with 100 volunteers gathering 10,000 signatures. Go Maine moms!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

They also may be setting up to try and pass a bill to ban Maine Initiative petitioning all together. This is how they work. Some one is writing a bill about the filming, but it is a slippery slope. I think what ever is written needs to include our right to petition as that is what in the long run they want to take from us. Maine is just one of a handful of states that can do initiative petitioning.