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Governor Mills Unveils Legislation to Strengthen Public Safety + Mental Health System

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Governor Janet Mills yesterday, Feb. 21, unveiled legislation that would enhance public safety and strengthen Maine’s mental health system while respecting Maine’s longstanding outdoor traditions.

According to maine.gov, the legislation stems from conversations with lawmakers and with people and organizations across Maine in which she heard a common belief that: 1) gun violence prevention is important; 2) that we must strengthen our mental health system; and 3) that dangerous people should not have access to firearms.

The Governor’s proposal addresses these three areas of concern in a pragmatic, responsible, and responsive way that respects the right to safe and legal gun ownership and that upholds Maine’s longstanding outdoor heritage.

The legislation establishes a violence prevention program at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, strengthens Maine’s mental health system by expanding crisis receiving centers, improves Maine’s extreme risk protection order law, expands checks against the National Instant Crime Background Check System for advertised, private sales, and incentivizes checks for unadvertised sales.

The legislation is also complemented by several supplemental budget initiatives announced by the Governor that further strengthens public safety and mental health.

From Gov. Mills: Violence is not a simple problem, nor is the remedy a single, simple measure. The proposals in this bill are not extreme or unusual, or a cookie cutter version of another’s state’s laws. They are practical, common-sense measures that are Maine-made and true to our culture and our longstanding traditions while meeting today’s needs. They represent meaningful progress, without trampling on anybody’s rights, and they will better protect public safety. I hope that lawmakers will approach these proposals with an open mind, reflecting not only upon what they believe is best but on what those who disagree with them believe is best as well. For the sake of the communities, individuals, and families now suffering immeasurable pain, and for the sake of our state, we will act.

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