It appears Mainers will reject Question 3 on Tuesday's ballot, which would have required extensive background checks when purchasing or borrowing firearms.

With 90 percent of precincts reporting, 52 percent of Mainers opposed the measure with 48 percent in favor, according to unofficial results from the Portland Press Herald.

Question 3 reads "Do you want to require background checks prior to the sale or transfer of firearms between individuals not licensed as firearms dealers, with failure to do so punishable by law, and with some exceptions for family members, hunting, self-defense, lawful competitions, and shooting range activity."

The issue divided not only residents, but also members of law enforcement. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association endorsed the measure, calling it a "common-sense proposal" that would help keep the guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, people with severe mental illness, and other dangerous individuals.

But many County Sheriffs spoke out against the measure, saying that it would put law-abiding gun owners in jail because they didn't fully understand the law. An open letter from Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane indicated that criminals acquire their firearms through the black market or by stealing them, and so the initiative would do nothing to slow them down.

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