By Carol McCracken (Post # 453)
Although Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence did not officially participate in the “open carry” gun rally last Sunday afternoon at Back Cove, Tom Franklin, president of the non-profit was there. Franklin, a life-long hunter himself has his own views that clearly conflict with the prevailing attitude at the open carry rally.
By way of background, about seventy-five men openly carrying their guns, which is legal in Maine, attended a rally to exercise their right to do so. The rally was organized by Shane Belanger, a 19 year old freshman at the nearby University of Southern Maine. The almost 2 hour long rally was highlighted by a barbecue for Belanger’s guests and several heated discussions between differing factions – but nothing more serious than that.
“We didn’t want to add to the publicity of the event,” said Franklin, explaining why the ten year old “MCAHV” did not participate in the rally. “We felt the event presented a negative image of Maine that was not accurate. It would make tourist think we are either weird or dangerous or both and it certainly doesn’t represent the views of traditional Maine hunters. Most hunters have no more interest in brandishing their guns in public than they do in walking naked in public.”
Franklin, who is an attorney moved here from Boston five years ago, went on to say: “Maine has a tradition of being quietly respectful of the views of others and hostile behavior like this is disrespectful of prevailing community values.” When he was living in Massachusetts, Franklin became involved in the issue of gun control because he was a hunter and amazed that the National Rifle Association was giving hunters a bad name. Frankliln grew up in Illinois where he shot pheasants and has hunted ever since. According to Franklin, state legislators assume that all hunters oppose all gun laws, but a poll in Maine last September showed that 88% of the population favored closing the gun show loophole.
“Why doesn’t the state legislature allow open-carry in the capitol?” Franklin asked.
“Our objective is to keep guns in the hands of responsible people. We do not believe openly carrying a gun is a responsible exercise of the right to own one. And we urgently oppose the concept of ‘normalizing’ the role of guns in our community,” he said on behalf of MCAHV.
Franklin, a resident of the Hill, is a sailor who volunteers at the Maine Island Trail Association. He’s director of special projects such as fundraising and its donate your boat program. (Please see Tom Franklin in upper left-hand photo.)
Please see previous post for more details on “open-carry” gun rally.