AUGUSTA, Maine — Governor Janet Mills is getting a lot of praise for her cabinet choices…except for one. Gun rights supporters are criticizing Mills’ nomination of former Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck to become Public Safety Commissioner.
Mills praised Sauschuck’s law enforcement and leadership experience. But gun rights advocates say the former chief has been a supporter of several gun control proposals, including the referendum two years ago to impose universal background checks.
David Trahan of Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine says his support for gun control is a problem.
“Guns are viewed differently in Portland than in the rest of rural Maine. Guns are part of our cultural history and recreation in rural parts of the state so I think he’s got a vision of firearms that are not shared by all of Maine.”
Mills says Sauschuck is the right person for the job.
“Mike Sauschukl is one of the most highly qualified individuals for that position anybody could find.
Whatever his personal views are on any issues, his job will be to implement and enforce the law and he is superbly qualified to do that.”
In response to questions about gun control bills in the Legislature, Mills recently reminded reporters that Maine voters had defeated a universal background check referendum in 2016.
“The people have already spoken on background checks,” Mills is quoted in the Portland Press Herald.
Her communications director said Mills considers that vote “significant”.
Trahan is promising a big turnout by gun supporters to oppose Sauschuck’s nomination. That public hearing and vote haven’t been scheduled.