Victory For Harvey Lembo—Finally

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posted on September 1, 2016
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Damian Strohmeyer

We’ve chronicled the bleak situation of retired Maine lobsterman Harvey Lembo since the very beginning of his plight. Now, after a struggle that stretched out for more than a year, Lembo has finally been completely vindicated.

First, however, a little background.

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.

But that feeling soon faded when his landlord informed Lembo that he wasn’t allowed to own a gun where he lived.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, Lembo reached for his handgun and went to investigate, only to find an intruder going through his 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 lunged toward him, Lembo fired.

Lembo was hailed as 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.Law-abiding gun owners should not be denied the right to keep and bear arms, regardless of their economic status or street address.

Lembo sued. And, as the lawsuit progressed, the Maine legislature quickly moved to solve his plight, passing a NRA-backed law that 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. Maine Gov. Paul LePage quickly signed the law, which took effect July 11.

Finally, late last month, a settlement by the parties involved in Harvey Lembo v. Park Place Associates, et. al, was filed with the court dismissing the case. The settlement recognizes the validity of the new law, Legislative Document 1572, and Lembo’s rights under it.

NRA-ILA supported LD 1572 through the legislature during the 2016 session. Because of the passage of the new law, the parties involved in Harvey Lembo v. Park Place Associates, et. al, were able to reach an agreement. Law-abiding gun owners should not be denied the right to keep and bear arms, regardless of their economic status or street address. 

In the end, this case is a shining example of how NRA’s litigation and legislative operations can work hand in hand to make real change for gun owners.

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