Lewiston Resolution Shows Deep Divide Over Democrats’ Gun Control Demands – Bearing Arms

Lewiston Resolution Shows Deep Divide Over Democrats’ Gun Control Demands – Bearing Arms

The mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine last October has spurred anti-gunners in the legislature to demand sweeping changes to the state’s gun laws, including a 72-hour waiting period on gun sales, a ban on so-called assault weapons, and a “red flag” law. Maine Gov. Janet Mills has proposed a more modest package of bills that would tweak the state’s current “yellow flag” law, require background checks on some (but not all) private transfers of firearms, and create several new mental health crisis centers around the state, and at this point its unclear what bills, if any, have enough support to get to her desk. 

The Lewiston City Council approved a resolution this week in support of the governor’s agenda, but the vote revealed a deep divide in the community over how lawmakers should respond to the tragedy. 

Following some debate Tuesday, the City Council voted 4-3 to support the resolution, with councilors Tim Gallant, Michael Roy and Eryn Soule-Leclair opposed.

Gallant, the most vocal in opposing the resolution, said the language used in the legislation is “subjective” and “undefined.”

“It will do little to prevent crime while imposing felony charges to access a civil right,” he said, referring to a section of the law on background checks. “Why are we wasting time on this bill when we all know the problem is mental health? He did everything legal.” 

The independent commission set up by Gov. Mills to investigate the shooting and what led up to it issued an interim report last week, and it was damning to gun control advocates who claim that the state’s “lax” gun laws are to blame. The commission determined that law enforcement could and should have acted to take the killer into custody long before he opened fire on his neighbors. 

The report, which was released after 5 p.m. Friday, said the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office had sufficient cause to take Robert Card into protective custody six weeks before the shooting. Rather than use Maine’s “yellow flag” law to attempt to confiscate Card’s guns, the report stated, the sheriff’s deputies relied on assurances from Card’s family members that they would try to remove his firearms. 

Card killed 18 people with a high-powered assault rifle and injured more than a dozen at two businesses in Lewiston on Oct. 25 during the worst mass shooting in Maine history.

“(The) decision to turn over the responsibility for removing Mr. Card’s firearms to Mr. Card’s family was an abdication of law enforcement’s responsibility,” reads the report. “This decision shifted what is and was a law enforcement responsibility onto civilians who have neither the legal authority to begin the Yellow Flag process nor any legal authority to seize weapons. Even after delegating that responsibility to Mr. Card’s family, the (Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office) failed to follow up to ensure that the firearms had been removed from Mr. Card’s custody and safely secured.”

It’s not just that law enforcement failed to use Maine’s “yellow flag” law to take the killer into custody for a mental health evaluation. The commission also found that police had cause to arrest and charge Card with assault after he punched a fellow reservist, but failed to do so. 

Does the narrow vote in Lewiston mean that many residents are okay with mass murder? According to gun control activists, that must be the case. Remember Newtown Action Alliance chair Po Murray’s tweet and her response to Bearing Arms contributor Ryan Petty? 

I can only imagine what Murray thinks about the good folks in Lewiston who are still grieving over the loss of their loved ones but don’t believe that more gun control laws are the answer. They must be monsters in her mind, or at least small-town simpletons who are the ignorant pawns of the gun lobby. The truth is that they’re mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbors and coworkers of the 18 people who were senselessly slaughtered by a mentally disturbed man who should have been in a mental health facility. Their lives were forever changed on that cold October night, and the scars will never fully heal or fade away. 

For activists like Murray, the only moral response to a mass shooting is to demand more laws that wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy in the first place. Anything less means you side with the killer. It’s a grotesque and dehumanizing position to take, but maybe it’s inevitable when your ideology is centered around going after guns instead of dealing with the individuals who pull the trigger, swing a knife, or hit the gas pedal before slamming into a crowd of people. 

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Originally Posted on: https://bearingarms.com/camedwards/2024/03/22/lewiston-resolution-shows-deep-divide-over-democrats-gun-control-demands-n1224297
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