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Maine Advances Gun Control Legislation Following Deadly Lewiston Rampage

In a significant legislative session, Maine lawmakers have approved several gun safety measures aimed at preventing future mass shootings, following a deadly attack in Lewiston that claimed 18 lives last year. 

Gov. Janet Mills, a supporter of the measures, is expected to sign them into law.

The legislative push comes in the wake of Maine’s most lethal episode of gun violence, where a gunman killed 18 people and injured 13 others at a bar and bowling alley in Lewiston. 

The shooter, Robert Card, an Army reservist, ended his life following the massacre.

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Prompted by the mass shooting, Maine’s legislators passed a set of gun safety bills, which include instituting a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases, expanding background checks to private sales, and banning bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire more rapidly.

Despite significant advancements, the legislature stopped short of passing a “red flag” law, which would have allowed easier confiscation of firearms from individuals deemed a risk due to mental illness or a threat to public safety. 

This measure had strong backing from advocacy groups.

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Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who had proposed some of the bills herself, is anticipated to sign the newly passed measures into law, reinforcing Maine’s commitment to enhancing gun safety and preventing future tragedies.

Kathleen McFadden from the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action expressed satisfaction with the legislative outcomes, highlighting that these measures represented the progress demanded by Mainers in the aftermath of the Lewiston shooting.

Investigations following the incident revealed missed opportunities that could have prevented the tragedy. 

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Authorities had been warned about Robert Card’s mental health decline and his access to firearms, but failed to take preventive action under the state’s existing “yellow flag” law.

The community continues to feel the effects of the October massacre, which not only marked a dark day for Lewiston but also set a grim record for gun violence in Maine’s history.

The failure to pass the red flag law points to ongoing debates and challenges in balancing gun rights with public safety concerns. 

Lawmakers and citizens alike remain divided on how best to address these issues.

With the governor’s expected approval, Maine will see new gun safety regulations take effect, as the state and its residents look for ways to prevent such tragedies in the future. 

These legislative changes are a testament to Maine’s proactive stance on gun control and public safety in response to increasing gun violence nationwide.