As the manhunt for a mass killer continued in Maine, anti-gunners moved to exploit the tragedy, calling for myriad gun control laws which have been on their wish list for several years and are not likely to have prevented the mayhem.
Authorities have identified Robert R. Card of Bowdoin, ME as the suspect in the slayings at two locations in Lewiston, a community several miles north of Portland. He is known to have a military background, he has also been described as a firearms instructor, and details have surfaced that he has a recent history of mental health problems, according to CBS News.
Reports from various news agencies say servicemembers training alongside Card earlier this year reported his behavior to law enforcement. He allegedly had been acting erratically, and he was sent to psychiatric treatment this summer because he allegedly said he was hearing voices. He also allegedly threatened a military base.
The executive director of the Gun Owners Action League in Massachusetts, Jim Wallace, issued a statement: “From all accounts, this was entirely preventable. The families of the victims, and indeed the entire nation, should be furious at the systemic failure that led to this atrocity.
“According to reports, the killer may have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility and released even after admitting that he wanted to cause serious harm,” Wallace said. “This automatically made him a prohibited person from possessing a gun. The fact that he was released is simply unconscionable.”
Wallace said arguing over the type of firearm used in the rampage is overshadowed by the fact that, “someone who has this level of dangerous mental health issues shouldn’t have access to society.”
President Joe Biden has called for his usual smorgasbord of gun controls including “universal background checks,” a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines,” a safe storage requirement and repeal of a federal law protecting gun manufacturers from junk lawsuits, according to Fox News.
Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom is demanding adoption of a 72-hour waiting period on gun purchases, and he slammed the Maine Legislature for not adopting such a bill earlier this year. What he overlooked in his message on “X” (formerly Twitter) is that Democrats control the legislature in Maine and the governor is a Democrat, yet Newsom blamed Republicans for blocking the bill.
Illustrating the chaos of responding and reporting such incidents, there were varying estimates of fatalities, which initially were reported at 22, but overnight were walked back to 16 and then stated as 18, with another 13 people wounded.
Among the harshest criticisms so far is a statement from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which called out Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Asserting that Biden and Newsom “have predictably reacted like vultures,” CCRKBA said both men are only interested in pushing an agenda which may, or may not, have any bearing on the Maine attack.
“Gov. Newsom is demanding adoption of a waiting period in Maine,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “and President Biden wants ‘universal background checks’ and safe storage laws, and both of them know none of these proposals would have prevented what happened Wednesday evening. 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.
“The president also wants to repeal the federal law protecting gun manufacturers from junk lawsuits,” he added, “which has absolutely nothing to do with this case and he knows it. Joe Biden is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, which is what anti-gunners do every time there is a tragedy upon which they might capitalize. It is a disgusting process we have seen time and again.”