Far too many times I’ve held the hands of those who’ve lost a loved one to senseless violence or reckless use of firearms, including suicide. I have tried homicide cases and prosecuted people for firearms violations. As Attorney General I’ve made it a priority to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers – still the most prevalent form of gun violence in our state. I know firsthand that we are not doing enough to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Maine has an opportunity to lead this conversation. We are a state full of people who hunt, who shoot for recreation and for sport, and who value our constitutional rights. But we also know that to eliminate the threat of gun violence in our community, we need to bring people together to achieve real, lasting change.
We can start with commonsense regulations on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, like the weapons used to cause mass casualties in Parkland, Las Vegas and Orlando. In the past, such laws have been ineffective because they lacked careful definitions, which allowed gun manufacturers to find loopholes by making slight cosmetic changes; we must avoid a repeat of those mistakes. We should also prohibit devices designed to turn semi-automatic firearms into fully-automatic machine guns, including bump stocks. And we should consider carefully crafted “red flag” laws, to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals who have temporary restraining orders against them.
This subject matter is not for the faint of heart. It will require an experienced leader that can bring law enforcement officials, sportswomen and sportsmen, reformers, and community leaders to the table to chart a collective path. As Governor, I will be committed to that task, and to bringing the people of our state together to keep Maine safe for generations to come.