AUGUSTA, Maine — Mainers are calling for action from lawmakers in light of the Lewiston mass shooting.
About two hundred people gathered in the shadow of the state house on Saturday.
“What happened on October 25th was tragic,” said Camilla Shannon, Chair of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition.
The Maine Gun Safety Coalition, which was formed after Columbine in 1999, is pushing for change.
“We’re working to think about a comprehensive way to promote safety and prevent tragedies,” said Shannon.
The group wants waiting periods before gun purchases and universal background checks.
“No civilian needs an assault rifle,” said Reverend Kharma Amos, Minister of Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick.
For many in the crowd, that is crucial.
An AR-10 was found in the Lewiston shooting suspect’s car.
“I think it is more important that we ban very high-capacity magazines,” said Senator Susan Collins at a press conference, a day after the shooting.
Last week, Senator Susan Collins expressed hesitation over which guns may be covered by an assault weapons ban.
But representative Jared Golden is reversing his stance and now says he’ll support it.
“What I hope he commits himself to is to not only work with his colleagues in the Congress, but to work with legislators here in Maine, to enact a ban,” said Leslie Manning, who supports gun reform.
Some would also like the state to embrace a ‘red flag’ law.
“Part of what we’re looking at is strategies to keep dangerous guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Shannon.
“We anticipate legislation coming forward,” said Laura Whitcomb, President of the group Gun Owners of Maine.
Whitcomb isn’t surprised by these renewed calls for reform.
But they’re against changing the state’s current yellow flag system.
“If we’re not utilizing laws that are already on the books, it doesn’t make sense to us to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Whitcomb.
And she doesn’t believe it will help to go after guns.
“Firearms do not kill people. People do,” said Whitcomb.
Democratic state lawmakers at the rally, including a Lewiston representative, say they will act.
“We can no longer say that here in Maine we’re immune to the violence that has already torn us apart and many communities across the country,” said Lewiston representative Margaret Craven.
The legislature isn’t in session right now.
If they wanted to return to the state house early, a majority of lawmakers from both parties would have to support a special session or the governor would need to call for one.
We’ve reached out to Governor Mills’ office for comment, we’ve not yet heard back.