The last time voters in Maine were asked about gun rights, they easily passed a constitutional amendment creating a right to own firearms that “shall never be questioned.”
Three decades later, the state known for its hunting tradition will vote on whether to tighten restrictions on gun sales and transfers.
Maine is one of four states, along with California, Nevada and Washington, where voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to enact tougher firearms laws. In a change from past elections, there are no statewide initiatives seeking to expand gun rights anywhere in the U.S.
The presence of so many ballot questions in the same year reflects the strategy, growing power and deep pockets of gun-control supporters, who are outspending opponents in all four states. They hope passage of the proposals shows widening support for more measures designed to keep firearms away from dangerous people.
In Maine and Nevada, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent millions advocating for background checks on nearly all gun sales and transfers. Supporters want to close gaps in the federal system that allow ineligible felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to buy firearms from private sellers at gun shows and online without a background check.