Maine Democrat calls for assault weapons ban after past opposition

Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said he would pursue an assault weapons ban after a mass shooting killed at least 18 people in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday.

The gunman, believed to be Army reservist Robert Card, is still on the run.

Golden said the shooting Wednesday had forced him to change his mind on pursuing a ban, which he previously did not support.

“Out of fear of this dangerous world that we live in, in my determination to protect my own daughter and wife in our own 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 at a press conference Thursday.

“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,” he continued. “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 2nd District, to those 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,” he said.

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), also at the press conference, declined to say whether she would support such a ban. She noted that she supported the original 1995 Federal Assault Weapons Ban and an effort to renew it, but she opposed later, more expansive efforts.

“I think it is more important that we ban very high-capacity magazines. I think that would have more input and more effectiveness,” Collins said. “Certainly, there’s always more that can be done.”

Authorities are searching for Card. Collins said the FBI alone had sent 80 agents to the area as part of search efforts.

The shooting killed at least 18 people and injured 13 more at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston on Wednesday evening.

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