The Maine Gun Safety Coalition (MGSC) is hosting a protest Wednesday morning at the Maine State House to pressure lawmakers to pass new restrictions on firearms, using the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston to reinvigorate a gun control agenda that has stalled under Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.
“Mainers from across the state will descend on the State House in Augusta to demand that our legislators pass strong gun safety legislation in the legislative session that begins that day,” the MGSC said on its website.
The protest, the Gun Safety Day of Action, is intended to convince the legislature to enact “common sense” gun laws, including background checks on private transfers, a three-day waiting period to buy a gun, “red flag” laws, and a ban on so-called assault weapons.
Maine already has a Yellow Flag gun control law, which would have allowed law enforcement to remove firearms from Lewiston shooter Robert R. Card, Jr.’s possession; however, the gun control law was never used despite months of indications that Card was a prime candidate for Yellow Flag procedures.
The MGSC protest is also supported by various medical groups, such as the Maine Medical Association (MMA) and the Maine Association of Physician Assistants (MAPA).
These groups claim that a vast majority of Mainers support their gun-control laws, despite nearly 47 percent of Maine adults having a firearm in their homes.
“After the massacre in Lewiston, it’s time for our legislators to hear from the vast majority of Mainers, who WANT these bills,” the MMA said in a statement.
The firearm rights advocacy group, Gun Owners of Maine (GOM) denied the MGSC’s claim that the majority of Mainers support their gun control agenda.
“We know that the vast majority of Mainers want no such thing and will be there to advocate for gun rights,” said GOM on Facebook.
GOM asked its supporters to show up for the protest as well, hoping that the Gun Safety Day of Action will ultimately draw more gun-rights activists than gun-control supporters.
The dueling protests will be held on January 3, the first day of Maine’s 2024 legislative session, at the state’s capitol in Augusta at 9:30am.
U.S Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, recently proposed new national gun-control measures to restrict magazine capacity to 10 rounds and ban removable magazines.
Similarly, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who had long opposed gun-control legislation, has changed his position in response to the Lewiston shooting.