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Democratic Maine Rep. Jared Golden said Thursday that he is reversing his opposition to banning assault weapons after 18 people were fatally shot at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston by a man wielding a rifle.
“I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime,” Golden said during a news conference in Lewiston on Thursday night. “The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine. For the good of my community, I will work with any colleague to get this done in the time that I have left in Congress.”
Golden was one of five Democrats who voted against an assault-style weapons ban that the House passed in 2022, CNN reported.
In a 2022 statement defending his vote against the measure, Golden said, “We do not need to take some types of firearms away from all Americans, but instead we should work to keep all firearms out of the hands of felons and those who have demonstrated that they are at serious risk of committing harm to themselves or others.”
On Friday morning, law enforcement agencies continued to comb the region for Robert Card, an Army reservist who authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killings in Maine’s history.
In the aftermath of the massacres, Maine’s “yellow flag” law and permissive gun measures are coming under great scrutiny. The law requires a number of steps before a weapon can be seized by courts or law enforcement.
The Associated Press reported that it wasn’t clear whether anyone had used the yellow flag law in the case of Card, who was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer and had reported “hearing voices and threats to shoot up” a military base.
Many other states have implemented “red flag” laws, which give them the power to seize weapons from gun owners viewed as a threat.
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