When 40-year-old Army Reservist Robert Card went on a rampage in Lewiston, Maine, this Wednesday, Oct 25, killing 18 and injuring 13, those living in and around the community did the logical thing – they locked their doors and grabbed their guns. This information didn’t come from the National Rifle Association or Gun Owners of America; it came from Lewiston City Councilor Robert McCarthy, who told that to a reporter from – of all places – CNN. That such a horrendous event would occur in Maine, however, is throwing the gun control lobby off its game, and they are having trouble pulling out their old gun grabbing tropes and making them sound effective.
Maine Shooter: A Study in How Gun Control Laws Didn’t Work
Robert Card, who was reportedly found Friday evening dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, was categorized as someone with “Federal Firearms Disqualified Status.” The Portland Press Herald made note of this just one day after the shooting, citing the State Bureau of Investigation as its source. The shooter had a recent history of mental illness and was said to be “exhibiting dangerous and threatening behavior.” Friends and relatives of Card said he was hearing voices and spent two weeks this summer at a mental health clinic.
In 2020, the Pine Tree State turned down a red flag law and, in its place, enacted a yellow flag statute. The purpose of both colored flag laws is to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues. The yellow flag requires a person deemed as a potential threat to undergo a medical assessment before authorities are permitted to confiscate their firearms. Maine has used this yellow flag 81 times since it became law, however Card is not among those listed.
A heavily wooded and popular hunting locale, Maine is a state with one of the highest gun ownership rates at 47.7% and has some of the most permissive gun control laws on the books. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action reveals the Pine Tree State has enacted the Castle Doctrine and is a right to carry state with no permit required for those looking to pack a concealed weapon.
To gun control advocates, Maine is a nightmare scenario ripe for exploitation. But if one considers the big picture, they have nothing to crow about. According to the Rand Corporation, the death rate due to firearms in Maine is 17% below the national average while the homicide rate due to guns stands 81% below average. For comparison purposes, Illinois – one of the most regulated states in terms of gun control laws – has a firearm homicide rate 48% higher than the average state.
The March of the Gun Grabbers Begins
Without consulting the statistics, gun grabbers used the Lewiston tragedy to drum up support for their laws that either don’t work in general, didn’t work in this case, or don’t appear to be making a difference in heavily regulated states. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the president were the first two politicians to hoist the gun control flag. On the X social media platform, shadow president Newsom pounced: “I have opposed efforts to ban 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 United States Congress to ban assault rifles.”
The president wrote on X, “Enough. I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass commonsense gun reforms. This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of this latest attack in Maine.”
An article in Ammoland.com captured the spirit of these ineffective and oft-used tropes. They quoted Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who made the point: “They’ve pounced like craven political opportunists in hopes of using this tragedy to stir up public emotions in an effort to push gun restrictions they’ve been promoting for years.”
Multiple newspapers reported that Mainers grabbed their guns when the news hit them regarding Card’s dastardly actions. Many residents sat on their porches all night with firearms in hand. Others locked their doors and loaded their guns – and there are a lot of people with a lot of firearms in Maine. While folks can sleep easier now knowing Card’s dead, when residents knew a madman was on the loose, nothing was more comforting than a weapon by their side with a round in the chamber.