Advocates in Maine for stronger gun safety laws are calling for a complete ban on assault weapons following last week's mass shooting in Lewiston, which left eighteen people dead and more than a dozen injured.
Groups say they are determining their next steps to ensure leaders in Augusta and Washington, D.C. pass what they see as commonsense gun laws, including tougher background checks and annual license renewal.
Anna Kellar is executive director of the League of Women Voters of Maine.
"It's going to take that kind of courage from our political leaders," said Kellar, "but I think it's what their constituents are really looking for from them in a moment like this, is to do that soul searching and take a stand when they need to."
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins - R-Maine - says she would support a ban on assault weapons, although she and U.S. Sen. Angus King - I-Maine - believe a ban on high-capacity magazines would be more effective at preventing gun violence.
For Maine U.S. Rep. Jared Golden - D-Lewiston - the tragedy in his hometown has altered his opinion.
Golden said he previously opposed an assault weapons ban - but that it's now time, as he puts it, to "take responsibility for this failure" and change course.
"For the good of my community," said Golden, "I will work with any colleague to get this done in the time that I have left in Congress."
Attempts to enact an assault weapons ban have failed following other mass shootings, including those at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut or Parkland High School in Florida.
Still, some gun safety advocates say Golden's reversal is a place to start.
The Latest from the League
PORTLAND, WASHINGTON – The League of Women Voters of Maine and the League of Women Voters of the United States issued this statement following the acts of violence and active shooter situation in Lewiston.
Maine lawmakers pass several bills expanding access to voting.
On February 21, the League sent the attached letter to the U.S. Senate in favor of common sense solutions to the gun violence plaguing our nation.