Spike in Maine Gun Sales Precedes New Carry Law

photo from sunjournal.com. John Reid, owner of J.T. Reid's Gun Shop in Auburn, stands behind a stack of handguns that just arrived at his store. Reid has stocked up in anticipation of greater demand because of the upcoming change in Maine law that allows adults to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

With new gun legislation set to take effect this fall, Maine has seen a spike in gun sales across the state.

Many are attributing the surge directly to a new law that takes effect in October, allowing state residents to carry a concealed weapon with no need for a permit and no requirement to take safety courses, according to this story fromwcsh6.com.

Gov. Paul LePage signed Document 652 into law in July, making Maine the sixth state that allows "constitutional carry, " including Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, and Kansas. Vermont has never required a permit to carry, and Arkansas and Montana allowed limited forms of constitutional carry.

"It's all because of the new law," said John Reid, owner of JT Reid Gun Shop in Auburn. "More people will be carrying."

He said gun sales are up at least 50 percent this summer compared to last year, and that customers are also purchasing holsters and inquiring about the new law.

State Sen. Eric Brakey (R), who sponsored the legislation, said the increase in gun sales was not necessarily intentional, but that it's a good thing, and used Vermont as an example. "The results in other states has been overwhelmingly positive," he said.

The Maine Chiefs of Police Association opposed the bill when it was going through the legislature and still does, mostly because of the lack of training requirements.

"The fear that we have is once this law goes into effect, you're going to have folks carrying that have had no training whatsoever," said Deputy Chief Jason Moen of the Auburn Police Department.

His department and others are planning to distribute pamphlets that explain the new law and its details, such as those carrying concealed weapons must still tell a police officer they are doing so. Moen also reminds residents to educate themselves about self-defense laws and that Maine has no "Stand Your Ground" law.