Representative’s Change of Heart in the Wake of Local Tragedy
LEWISTON, Maine In a surprising turn of events, Maine Representative Jared Golden, known for his opposition to various gun safety measures supported by his party, announced his support for an assault weapons ban. This statement comes in the wake of the tragic shootings in his hometown of Lewiston, which claimed the lives of at least 18 people and left 13 others injured.
At a press conference held in Lewiston, Golden, a three-term congressman representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, declared his change of stance on gun control. The congressman, who had previously opposed banning assault weapons, expressed his newfound conviction, stating, “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.”
Golden’s shift in position is significant, especially considering his history of dissenting with his party on gun-related issues. Despite his support for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last year, he voted against other firearms bills, including an assault-style weapons ban passed by the House in 2022. In the past, he argued, “We do not need to take some types of firearms away from all Americans, but instead we should work to keep all firearms out of the hands of felons and those who have demonstrated that they are at serious risk of committing harm to themselves or others.”
However, faced with the devastating impact of the recent shootings in his community, Golden emphasized the urgent need to restrict assault weapons. “For the good of my community, I will work with any colleague to get this done in the time I have left in Congress,” he stated, acknowledging the pressing demand for action. The congressman’s change of heart underscores the gravity of the situation and the necessity for stricter gun control measures.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, commenting on Golden’s decision, highlighted the unfortunate pattern of congressional members only advocating for gun control reforms after experiencing mass shootings in their own districts. Despite the congressman’s change of stance, the likelihood of an assault weapons ban passing Congress remains uncertain, given the current political landscape with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats lacking a strong majority in the Senate.
During the same press conference, Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins expressed her support for banning very high-capacity magazines, emphasizing the need for effective measures to curb gun violence. She also indicated her openness to exploring the possibility of raising the age to purchase certain firearms from 18 to 21 years old, underscoring the ongoing efforts to address the complexities of gun control in the United States.