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From The Editor | Harvey Lembo Bill Becomes Law

From The Editor | Harvey Lembo Bill Becomes Law

Photo credit: Damian Strohmeyer

This feature appears in the June ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

We’ve told you before in these pages about Harvey Lembo, the retired Maine lobsterman whose handicap leaves him an easy target for robbers. Now, a measure designed to help Lembo and others who live in public-subsidized housing in the state has been signed into law by Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

First, a little background is in order for those who aren’t familiar with the case.

Lembo, 67, is disabled and relies on a motorized wheelchair to get around. His disability, coupled with the array of prescription drugs he needs to get through the day, has resulted in him being robbed six times in six years.After a thief took his pain medications, $1,000 in cash and the key to his safe deposit box, Lembo had had enough and purchased an antique Russian revolver for self-defense. 

After a thief took his pain medications, $1,000 in cash and the key to his safe deposit box, Lembo had had enough and purchased an antique Russian revolver for self-defense. Later that very evening, he was awakened by a noise in his apartment. Getting out of bed, he reached for his handgun and went to investigate. An intruder was going through Lembo’s pills. When asked what he was doing, the suspect reportedly replied, “I’m here to rob you, just like everybody else.”

This time, however, Lembo wasn’t helpless. He pointed the revolver at the suspect, and called 911. When the man lurched toward him, Lembo fired.

Lembo was hailed a hero by many and finally felt like he would be safe in his public-subsidized apartment, which, on a fixed income, is all he can afford. But that feeling soon faded when his landlord informed Lembo that he wasn’t allowed to own a gun where he lived. Things got even worse when that news was made public, letting thieves, including the one he had shot, know that the next time he would be disarmed and helpless.

The new Maine law, which takes effect July 11, will prevent public housing authorities from adding provisions in rental agreements to ban the lawful ownership, use, possession, bearing or transportation of firearms by tenants. And that’s not a moment too soon for Lembo and others who live in public housing and are easy prey for those who make their living by taking from, and hurting, others.

Kudos to the Maine Legislature and Gov. LePage for ensuring that Lembo and other innocent victims can exercise their right to self-defense against violent criminals.