TESTIMONY OF THE MAINE MEDICAL ASSOCIATON
IN OPPOSITION TO
L.D. 44, AN ACT TO Lower the Age Requirement To Carry a Concealed Handgun
Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety
State House Room 436
Friday, March 17, 2017, 9:00 a.m.
Good morning Senator Rosen, Representative Warren, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. My name is Peter Michaud and I am Associate General Counsel of the Maine Medical Association. Like many of us who grew up in Maine I am also a lifelong hunter, and I have owned firearms since 1962, when I was 12 12. I am speaking in opposition to L.D. 44, An Act to Lower the Age Requirement To Carry a Concealed Handgun".
Current law allows persons over the age of 21 to carry a concealed handgun or to have in a motor vehicle a loaded handgun. An exception is made which lowers that age to 18 if the person is a member or a veteran of the armed forces. LD 44 seeks to lower the age for all 18, 19, and 20 year olds without meeting the armed forces requirement.
There is a very good reason for that requirement. In the service, a person learns how to handle a firearm with care and respect. You learn that the purpose of your weapon is to kill another person. You also learn other valuable lessons in the service, lessons learned by very few people of that age who have not served. There is no good reason to get rid of that requirement.
Eighteen year olds are not grown-ups, not adults. They think they are, but they’re not. An 18 year old is an adolescent. You will hear from at least one physician that a person’s brain does not finish developing until the mid 20s, and before that time the immature brain is susceptible to strong emotions without having the necessary judgment that one gains as one ages. It was a long time ago, but I remember being 18. I have raised two children through that age into adulthood. Many of you have had the same experience. Think about it.
Remember that high school seniors are 18 years old. Do we really want high school kids carrying concealed weapons? Do we want them driving around with loaded firearms in their cars? Maybe some of them would have the necessary impulse control and judgment, but certainly not all of them will. Maine’s physicians ask you to remember the part of your committee’s title that says “Public Safety.” Please protect the safety and lives of our children and vote this bill “Ought Not to Pass.”
Thank you for considering the views of the Maine Medical Association on L.D. 44. I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.