Lawmakers Apologize After Suggesting Lewiston Shooting Was Act of God – Bearing Arms

Lawmakers Apologize After Suggesting Lewiston Shooting Was Act of God – Bearing Arms

Last fall’s shooting in Lewison, Maine has dominated this year’s legislative session in Augusta, where Democrats have advanced a number of new gun control proposals, including a bill meant to do an end-run around the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that would allow for civil lawsuits against gun makers who allegedly market their products to juveniles, prohibited persons, or people “in any manner that is unconscionable, unscrupulous, oppressive or deceptive,” whatever that means. 

That bill narrowly passed the state House on Thursday, with a half-dozen Democrats joining Republicans in opposition, and there are several other bills that are still pending, including a ban on so-called assault weapons, a “red flag” proposal, and a 72-hour waiting period on all gun sales. Passage of those bills is far from certain, but a pair of Republican lawmakers have given fuel to the anti-gunners by suggesting that the mass shooting, which left 18 people dead and 13 others injured, was God’s retribution for legislators expanding access to abortion. 

During a floor debate Wednesday, [Rep. Michael] Lemelin said that God “draws a line in the sand and when we cross that line there’s consequences” to immoral activity.

“Meditate on this, Madam Speaker,” Lemelin said. “When (L.D.) 1619 passed and went into law on Oct. 25, you told God life doesn’t matter. … God heard you and the horrible events on Oct. 25 happened.”

Lemelin was ruled out of order by Talbot Ross for impugning the character of other members. But that didn’t stop [Rep. Shelley] Rudnicki from chiming in.

“I just want to stand and say that I agree with Rep. Lemelin and everything he said,” Rudnicki said.

Those remarks led to the pair being censured by every other member of the House, Republicans included, and Lemelin and Rudnicki apologized on Thursday by reading a brief statement on the House floor: “I accept full responsibility for my remarks on the House floor on the evening of April 10, 2024. I publicly apologize for my colleagues in the House, the people connected to the horrible events of Oct. 25 and the state of Maine.”

Now, I’m not going to get into a deep theological discussion here. I’ll simply note that declaring God used a mentally ill individual as a tool of divine retribution by allowing, or perhaps even directing him to murder his neighbors, is decidedly unhelpful when there’s a sustained push to use the killings as an excuse to implement California-style gun laws. The anti-2A crowd are already using faith-based arguments to advance their agenda, though their blind faith is in the ideology of civilian disarmament, not the Lord Almighty. They believe that gun bans, red flag laws, and waiting periods could have stopped this atrocity from ever taking place, and it’s up to lawmakers like Lemelin and Rudnicki to use the facts at hand to counter the gun control cultists. 

There were multiple opportunities for officials to intervene in the months and weeks before the killer carried out his attack. As an investigative committee has outlined in an interim report, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office had cause to initiate a mental health evaluation at least five weeks before the shooting took place. The committee also found that the suspect could have been arrested and charged with assault for attacking a friend and fellow reservist in May of 2023, months before the shooting occurred. 

Those are the facts, and they’re devastating to the arguments of the anti-gun activists. Suggesting that God wanted the mass murders in Lewiston to take place because He was angry at Maine lawmakers for passing an abortion bill, on the other hand, is devastating to those family members who are still grieving lost loved ones, survivors who are still recovering from their injuries, and all those who want to see an informed response to the shooting. I’m glad to see that the lawmakers have expressed regret for their statements, but I’m concerned that their remarks may still end up giving the anti’s more ammunition in their push to infringe on Mainers’ Second Amendment rights. 

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