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In Maine, gun violence impacts us all. Maine is “lucky” according to Michael Rocque, a criminologist at Bates College, that a mass shooting has not happened here.
Maine has ranked ninth in the nation in the rate that men kill women. Our current laws allow domestic abusers to purchase guns without a background check. Unrestricted gun sales increase domestic violence deaths, homicides, and suicides. These lax gun laws make it easier for offenders to purchase firearms and commit crimes in other areas.
The largest mass shooting in Canada’s history took place in 2020 when a man killed 22 in Nova Scotia. Some of the guns came from Maine. In 2020, suicides accounted for most gun deaths, according to a new state report.
Gun violence impacts our citizens in ways not measurable by statistics. In Vassalboro, Jeremy Gilley, an Army veteran, was shot and killed in May. In Bath, a family still struggles with questions following the murder of Darry Coffin. The Coffin family has shared the family’s pain and grief publicly. In Wells, 2-year-old Octavia Huber Young was allegedly killed by her 19-year-old uncle; a family shattered by gun violence forever.
I urge Congress to pass safer gun legislation immediately. Require safety permits, enforce background checks, strengthen yellow flag laws, raise the legal age to purchase assault weapons. Gun violence takes a toll on us all.