Maine Lawmaker Does U-Turn on Assault Weapons Ban

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden says 'misjudgments' led him to oppose ban
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2023 5:00 AM CDT
Maine Lawmaker Does U-Turn on Assault Weapons Ban
Sen. Susan Collins speaks with members of the media in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As the manhunt continued for the suspect in this year's deadliest mass shooting in the US, a Maine congressman reversed his position on an assault weapons ban. US Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat whose district includes Lewiston, where 18 people were killed in Wednesday night's shooting, said "misjudgments"—including a "false confidence that our community was above this"—had led him to oppose "efforts to ban deadly weapons of war, like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime," the Hill reports. He said he is now calling on Congress "to ban assault rifles, like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine."

Police say suspect Robert Card, a US Army reservist, used at least one rifle in the Wednesday rampage, but they haven't commented on how many guns were used or how they were obtained, the AP reports. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who spoke at the same press conference as Golden on Thursday, said she supported the federal assault weapon ban introduced in 1994, but opposed efforts to bring in an expanded law after the earlier law lapsed in 2004. "I did and do support the ban of bump stocks, which are designed to turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns," she told the Portland Press Herald.

Maine's other senator, Sen. Angus King, said he favors a ban on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines but feels a ban on assault weapons would be ineffective. "I always try to be pragmatic," said King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. "I'm interested in what will work." Golden was one of five Democrats who voted against an assault weapons ban that passed the House last year but never made it to the Senate. Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost, an outspoken support of gun control measures, praised Golden for changing course, saying, "It takes a lot of courage to go on national television and admit that you were wrong about something," the Washington Post reports. (More gun control stories.)

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