White House gun violence adviser coming to Maine to offer support

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Oct. 29—The deputy director of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention will arrive in Maine on Sunday night to support the Lewiston community in the wake of Wednesday's mass shootings.

Greg Jackson will be in Maine to support the community in the wake of the tragedy, and is visiting the state at the request of Gov. Janet Mills, said Dhara Nayyar, Senior Regional Communications Director at the White House. Jackson will work with the governor's office and coordinate federal support for the community's needs, she said.

When asked whether Jackson would attend the vigil in Lewiston Sunday night, Nayyar said she wasn't sure. "He is heading to Lewiston to help coordinate the federal government's response on the ground. Whatever the community is advocating for, that's what he'll be there for."

Jackson's visit to Lewiston shows "that the president hears, and he is there for the people of Maine, and that he will do whatever it takes to make sure that the community feels supported during this tragic time," Nayyar said Sunday. "This is exactly why this Office of Gun Violence Prevention was established because in the wake of tragedies, hopefully moving forward there'll be less tragedy. This office was designed to help support communities during these tragic, tragic mass shootings."

Jackson will be in Maine as long as the community needs support, she said.

The Lewiston mass shooting is the first one since the White House Office of Gun Violence was established just last month.

President Joe Biden announced the creation of the new division last month.

Vice President Kamala Harris oversees the office and Stephanie Feldman, White House assistant to the president, serves as its director. Jackson and Rob Wilcox, longtime advocates against gun violence, are the deputy directors.

When he announced the creation of the new office, Biden said that every time he's met with families mourning lost loved ones killed by gun violence, "they all have the same message for their elected officials: 'do something.' " As he unveiled the new office, Biden said he'll continue to urge Congress to take common sense actions that the majority of Americans support, like banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and universal background checks.

In the absence of that needed action, Biden said the office "will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart."

On Thursday, Maine Rep. Jared Golden announced at a Lewiston City Hall news conference that he is dropping his opposition to banning assault weapons, which he called "deadly weapons of war."

"The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the U.S. Congress to ban assault rifles, like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston," Golden said.