Maine Legislators Pass Historic Gun Safety Laws in Wake of Lewiston Mass Shooting

Avery Emberly

Updated Friday, April 19, 2024 at 12:13 PM CDT

Maine Legislators Pass Historic Gun Safety Laws in Wake of Lewiston Mass Shooting

In an unprecedented move, the Maine Legislature has approved a sweeping package of gun safety measures nearly six months after the state's most deadly episode of gun violence in Lewiston. On October 25, a mass shooting carried out by U.S. Army reservist Robert Card claimed the lives of 18 individuals and wounded 13 others at a bar and bowling alley. The shooter was later found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a recycling plant where he had previously worked.

Prior to the tragic event, concerns were raised by Card's family regarding his mental health and access to firearms, with a fellow reservist expressing fears of Card potentially "snapping." Despite an independent commission finding cause to seize Card's guns under Maine's "yellow flag" law, the protective measures were not enacted in time to prevent the tragedy.

In response to the Lewiston shooting, Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat and vocal advocate for gun safety, sponsored legislation that has now been passed to the governor's desk for her signature. The suite of laws includes a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases, expanded background checks covering private sales, and a prohibition on bump stocks.

These reforms aim to prevent future tragedies by criminalizing gun sales to those prohibited from ownership and by funding violence-prevention initiatives. A new mental health crisis receiving center is slated to open in Lewiston as part of these initiatives. Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Kristen Cloutier, representing Lewiston, has expressed her pride in the legislative actions taken.

Although the Senate narrowly passed the bills, a proposed "red flag" law was left untouched. It would have allowed family members to petition for the removal of guns from individuals in psychiatric crisis, expanding upon the current "yellow flag" law which involves police intervention.

The legislation drew support from Governor Mills in her State of the State address, where she declared inaction was not an option—a sentiment that garnered a standing ovation. Debate on these measures extended into the early hours due to a concurrent discussion on a contentious supplemental budget.

However, the new laws faced criticism from some quarters. Ben Dyer, a survivor of the Lewiston shooting, expressed his skepticism of the legislation's impact on law-abiding gun owners and accused the Legislature of exploiting the tragedy. Similarly, Republican Sen. Lisa Keim accused Democrats of using the event to push through previously rejected gun legislation.

The passage of these gun safety laws marks a significant moment in Maine's legislative history, reflecting a growing national urgency to address gun violence.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the gun-grabbing liberals have exploited a tragedy to t****le on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. In Maine, they've used the Lewiston shooting as a pretext to push their radical anti-gun agenda, passing legislation that will do nothing to stop criminals but will only serve to disarm and punish responsible gun owners. They ignore the fact that it's not the guns, but the moral decay of society and the failure of mental health systems that are to blame. These measures are just another step in the Democrats' mission to strip away our freedoms and leave us defenseless in the face of evil.

Liberal Bias:

In a courageous stand against the gun lobby's stranglehold on our politics, Maine has finally passed critical gun safety laws in the wake of the Lewiston m****cre. It's a victory for common sense and a rebuke to the heartless conservatives who value their firearms over the lives of our children. Despite the clear evidence that gun control saves lives, these right-wing politicians continue to block any meaningful reform, kowtowing to the NRA and gun manufacturers while our streets run red with blood. Thankfully, Maine's Democrats have shown what it means to lead with conviction and honor the victims of gun violence with action, not just thoughts and prayers.

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