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This Week in Politics: Gun Control

This week has been eventful regarding guns and the regulations surrounding them. Within the past week, there have been bipartisan meetings on Capitol Hill as well as decisions made by multiple businesses regarding their sales of guns and relationships with the NRA.

Capitol Hill

This past Wednesday, Feb. 28, President Trump met with Congress members from both sides of the aisle to discuss the government’s future plans on gun regulations. Trump surprised many when he called for gun control legislation that would stretch background checks to weapons sold at gun shows and over the internet. He also called for legislation that would aim to keep guns from mentally ill people, make schools safer and restrict gun sales to some young adults.

At one point of the meeting, Trump suggested that law enforcement should have the ability to take guns from mentally ill people who present a danger to themselves or others, before obtaining a court order. “I like taking the guns early,” Trump said, adding, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

Trump also suggested that legislation should raise the minimum age requirement for buying rifles from 18 to 21, pointing out that handguns have a minimum age of 21, while weapons such as that used in the Parkland shooting have a minimum age requirement of 18.

At the meeting, Trump rejected a bill known as concealed-carry reciprocity, telling Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, “You’ll never get it passed. We want to get something done.” This bill would allow a person who has permission to carry a concealed weapon in one state to carry a concealed weapon in every state.

Businesses bring change to store policies and ties to NRA

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, multiple businesses have taken steps to change store policies or their relationship with the NRA.

The first of the many businesses to respond to the shooting was the First National Bank of Omaha, who will stop issuing an NRA-branded card after listening to customer feedback and reviewing its partnership with the organization.

Since then, multiple businesses have decided to cut their ties to the NRA, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and many more.

Businesses like Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean and Kroger have gone so far as to make changes to their policies regarding the sales of weapons.

Walmart, which stopped selling modern sporting rifles such as AR-15s in 2015, announced that it will raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21. Walmart will also remove items that resemble assault-style rifles, including toys and nonlethal airsoft guns, from its website.

Dick’s will make similar changes to their store policies. The company will no longer sell assault-style rifles, removing them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores, as well as firearms to people under 21. They will no longer sell high capacity magazines and will continue to not sell bump stocks, which gives semi-automatic weapon a faster firing rate. Dick’s has already stopped their sales of assault-style weapons from its stores after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

Kroger will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to anyone under the age of 21 at Fred Meyer stores and will no longer accept any special orders of assault-style rifles in Alaska.

University of Maine Campus Gun Policies

Weapons are to be stored only at the University of Maine Police Department (UMPD) and must be in a single-sized case for storage at the precinct. A picture ID must be presented when removing weapons from the UMPD. Weapons will only be released to whomever the weapon is registered to. Sanctions will be brought against those with firearms found in their rooms or vehicles. For more information, visit the UMaine website and read the firearms guide.

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