Maine congressman asks for ‘forgiveness’ from Lewiston constituents for opposing assault rifle ban

Politics

“Humility is called for as accountability is sought by the victims of a tragedy such as this one.”

Rep. Jared Golden is asking for his constituents’ forgiveness as he pledges to work toward an assault rifle ban in Congress following Wednesday’s mass shooting in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine.

Eighteen people were killed and 13 were injured when a gunman, who authorities have identified as 40-year-old Robert Card, opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar on Wednesday evening, prompting shelter in place orders and a state-wide manhunt. Card remains at large, and authorities have so far issued eight murder warrants for the U.S. Army reservist. 

Golden, a Democrat who is from Lewiston, spoke a press conference with other elected officials, including Sen. Susan Collins, on Thursday.

During his remarks, he acknowledged that he previously has opposed efforts to ban assault weapons.

“Sometimes things happen that bring your worst nightmares to life,” Golden said. “Yesterday, this is what happened in Lewiston. At a time like this, a leader is forced to grapple with things that are far greater than his or herself. Humility is called for as accountability is sought by the victims of a tragedy such as this one. Out of fear of this dangerous world that we live in, my determination to protect my own daughter and wife in our home, in our community — because of a false confidence that our community was above this and that we could be in full control among many other misjudgments — I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war, like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime.”

Golden said his position changed after Wednesday’s shooting and that he will work toward preventing another tragedy from occurring, asking for forgiveness for his previous stance. 

“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,” Golden said. “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. To the people of Lewiston, my constituents throughout the Second District, to the families who lost loved ones and to those who have been harmed, I ask for forgiveness and support as I seek to put an end to these terrible shootings. In the days to come I will give everything I have to support this community’s recovery.”

According to the Portland Press Herald, not all of Maine’s Congressional delegation supports an assault weapon ban. Golden’s fellow Democrat, Rep. Chellie Pingree, told the newspaper she supports an assault weapons ban. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Angus King, an Independant, told the Press Herald he supports banning high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, but is not in favor of an assault weapons ban. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, told the newspaper she supports banning bump stocks and that she would support a ban similar to a 1994 law that she was in favor of that banned 19 styles of assault weapons. She opposed a 2004 expansion of that law, according to the newspaper.


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