Maine Legislators Are Back in Session Just Months After the Deadliest Shooting in Maine’s History
AUGUSTA, ME – Today, the Maine chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement as the Maine legislature convened for the first day of the 2024 legislative session. Lawmakers return to session as the state continues to reel from the deadliest shooting in Maine’s history in Lewiston late last year. Volunteers with Moms Demand Action join several other gun violence prevention groups across Maine at the state capital today to call for lawmakers to prioritize gun safety legislation this session.
“We’re back at the statehouse this year to advocate for common sense gun laws that will keep our families safe and prevent another community from going through this horrible tragedy,” said Kathleen Mcfadden, the lead of the Maine Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Gun violence did not start with Lewiston, but this mass shooting has awakened something in all of us to address the urgent need to improve our state’s deficient gun safety laws. We look forward to partnering with our legislators across Maine this session to work towards a safer state for all of us.”
Compared to many other New England states, Maine lags behind on gun safety legislation and currently ranks 25th in the country for strength of its gun laws. For years, Maine legislators have rejected gun safety measures at the risk of Mainers’ public safety. This legislative session, legislators have the opportunity to take up long overdue common sense gun safety legislation such as an Extreme Risk law that would give those closest to a person in crisis the opportunity to help, expanded background checks, waiting periods for firearms purchases and a prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Maine continues to see high, and rapidly increasing, firearm suicide rates, and has seen an increase in the overall rate of gun deaths between 2012 and 2021. In 2023 alone, Maine saw two devastating and preventable mass shootings in Lewiston and Bowdoin. These tragedies are unfortunately painful reminders of what happens when we don’t have common-sense gun safety laws in place like an Extreme Risk Protection law that can keep guns out of the hands of individuals in crisis or those who pose a threat to themselves and others. Research demonstrates that in states where elected officials have taken action to pass gun safety laws, fewer people die by gun violence – leaving Mainers vulnerable without protection from some of the most fundamental gun violence prevention laws.
In an average year, 163 people die by guns in Maine. With a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people, Maine has the 39th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. More information about gun violence in Maine is available here.
To speak to a local volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please don’t hesitate to reach out.