AUGUSTA — When Maine passed a “Constitutional Carry” law allowing Maine residents to carry a concealed firearm without any special permit in 2015, opponents of the law forecast a dangerous future for the state. They said the new law would hurt public safety and put Maine kids at risk.

One state representative who opposed the bill went so far as to say it would give Mainers a reason to be afraid every time they went out in public or to work.

Another state representative suggested the law would lead to violent criminals with recent arrests and convictions legally carrying handguns.

Putting the rights of Mainers ahead of the objections of opponents, Governor Paul LePage signed the bill sponsored by Senator Eric Brakey of Auburn after it won bipartisan approval in the Maine House and Senate.

Now four years later, Maine has been named the safest state in the nation according to US News and World Report’s public safety rankings, which measures the fifty states based on crime data.

Ranking as the top safest state for violent crime and fourth for property crime, Maine edges out another New England state, Vermont, for the top spot. Of note, Vermont also is a “Constitutional Carry” state. New Hampshire ranks third in the national rankings, giving New England all three of the top spots in the nation.

In 2018, Maine was edged out by Vermont in the same “safest states” ranking, but declared the best state overall in the broader “Crime and Corrections” category.

In 2017, using a different methodology, Maine was ranked second among the fifty states in the “Crime and Corrections” category and also second in the categories used to rank the “safest states.”

The U.S. News and World Report “Best States” rankings are built in partnership with McKinsey & Company, a firm that works closely with state leaders around the nation.

Maine has also ranked at the top of other state rankings. recently ranked Maine second in “Personal and Residential Safety” among the fifty states, and third overall.

Source: Main Examiner