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Advocates In Maine Take Steps To Put Gun-Sales Background Checks On Ballot

Judi and Wayne Richardson, who lost their daughter Darien to gun violence in 2010, filed an application for a referendum on background checks Monday.

A Maine couple who lost their daughter to a shooting in 2010 has filed the paperwork to start the process of putting criminal background checks for gun buyers to a vote next fall. The state currently requires the checks only for sales by licensed dealers, not for private sales conducted online, at gun shows or elsewhere.

In calling for a referendum to require background checks for most sales, Judi and Wayne Richardson are working with the state chapter of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, which was formed after the Sandy Hook school shooting of 2012.

From the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Patty Wight reports for our Newscast desk:

"In 2010, Judi Richardson's adult daughter died after an intruder shot her in her Portland apartment.

"Richardson says the gun used was purchased through a private sale where no background check was done, and the crime remains unsolved. Now Richardson has submitted an application to the state to put the issue to voters.

" 'Most people want this,' Richardson says. 'Most people want the universal background checks, and legislators are not doing anything at the state level or federal level.'

"The proposed initiative would allow some exceptions, such as guns used for hunting, or transferred between family members. Currently, about half a dozen states require criminal background checks on gun sales."

Backers of the statewide referendum must collect at least 61,000 signatures over the next five months to put the issue on Maine's ballot for next November's vote, reports MPBN's Susan Sharon.

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