Lawmakers in the Maine Legislature have passed a bill that would allow Maine Forest Rangers to carry guns while on duty.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. William Tuell, drafted an initial proposal earlier in the legislative session that would have allowed rangers to carry their own guns, instead of having Maine taxpayers foot the bill for state-issued sidearms.
However, an amendment was later added that will require firearms training for rangers and calls for the guns to be issued by the state.
Tuell said he was inspired to propose the legislation due to the fact that Forest Rangers often end up in dangerous situations in remote areas of the state and should have the means to defend themselves if necessary.
“68 officers were killed in this country last year, all across the country, and some of them were specifically targeted. And whether you’re for gun rights or not for gun rights, most people that I know are for officers’ safety and protecting the men and women who protect us,” Tuell said.
Similar bills have failed in recent years, but Tuell said he thought the bill had enough support this year to override a possible veto by Maine Gov. Paul LePage.