Waldo County Sheriff appears in TV ad opposing Question 3NRA-funded spot takes aim at NYC, says law wouldn't make Maine safer
Maine sheriffs followed up a letter of opposition to Ballot Question 3 recently with a high-production television ad featuring top brass from around the state warning against the referendum question, which would expand background checks for private gun sales.
In a group monologue spanning nine counties by way of their chief law enforcement officers, the ad pans Question 3 as "poorly written" and being pushed by a New York billionaire who does not care about Maine" — a reference to roughly $2.7 million contributed to a political action committee supporting Question 3 by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. An affiliated, New York-based group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, has spent $430,000 to support Question 3.
Trafton appears onscreen at about the halfway mark and says in a firm voice that Question 3 "would not stop criminals from getting guns." The line is a setup for Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols, who appears throughout the ad. Question 3 "would send law-abiding Mainers to jail," Nichols says.
The word "jail" is repeated for effect by sheriffs from Oxford and Penobscot counties.
"Sheriffs Oppose Question 3" was paid for by the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. The group's most recent campaign disclosure includes a payment of $189,369.59 to Annapolis Maryland-based Starboard Strategic for TV and digital advertising to oppose Question 3.
The sheriff's ad is one of two TV-length videos on the NRA-funded votenoquestion3.org. The other, a six-plus-minute infomercial featuring Gov. Paul LePage and dozens of sport shooters, includes color commentary by retired Waldo County law enforcement duo John Ford — "Can I say bullshit?" Ford asks before going on to call Question 3 "pure crap." — and Mark Nickerson, who says he thinks of New York City as a "cesspool."
"We don't want that shoved down our throat up here," he says.
Both Nickerson and Ford give substantive arguments later in the video. Nickerson says the law is unenforceable and Ford argues that existing laws are sufficient but aren't being enforced.