Maine allows people 21 and older to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, but lawmakers are considering a measure that would lower that age to 18.

Supporters, such as Rep. Rich Cebra, R-Naples, say 18-year-old Maine citizens should have the same rights as those over 21.

“Law-abiding, responsible young people who fit in that category should be allowed to exercise their rights as any other adult in Maine,” he said.

Opponents argue that the state already treats 18-year-olds differently in its drinking laws, for example, and they say studies show 18-year-olds are not as emotionally developed as adults over the age of 21.

“Allowing 18- to 20-year-olds to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public, not even having to have a background check, is irresponsible. Without a permit is irresponsible,” Paula Reed of North Yarmouth said.

The proposal is under consideration by the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.