Folks rally in Augusta for stricter gun legal guidelines

Folks rally in Augusta for stricter gun legal guidelines


AUGUSTA — Locals and Mainers from different cities and cities congregated in Capitol Park in Augusta on Saturday morning for a rally organized to demand stricter gun legal guidelines within the wake of the tragic mass capturing in Lewiston that claimed 18 lives and injured 13 others.

The rally, organized by the Maine Gun Security Coalition, was aimed on the lawmakers to demand pink flag gun security laws, common background checks, a 72-hour ready interval earlier than gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons.

Audio system and camera-mounted tripods populated the middle of the park together with youngsters, adults, college students, and advocates holding indicators surrounding a makeshift stage that had a poster on it that learn: “Mourn and Manage.”

State Rep. Benjamin Collings, D-Portland, was in attendance to advocate for the calls for, noting that there’s unprecedented momentum, after the occasions in Lewiston, to impact change.

“We (the legislators) are anticipated in session in January, and we hope to deal with the problems. Being in Maine politics for 30 years, I believe there’s extra help than there has ever been,” mentioned Collings. “However I additionally know if we don’t act now, I don’t know if we ever will. I hope I’m confirmed mistaken”

Volunteers handed out orange ribbons to attendees and requested them to enroll in updates about any legislative progress which may occur. The stage was set with the towering State Home constructing within the background, with its American flag nonetheless at half-mast greater than every week after the shootings.

Folks collect at Capitol Park in Augusta on Saturday to demand gun security laws. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

“None of us are completely satisfied to be right here at this time,” mentioned the Rev. Kharma Amos of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick.

Amos, 51, was driving dwelling to Lisbon from the church when she first heard in regards to the capturing. She would spend the following few days sheltering in her dwelling whereas the authorities hunted for the shooter, Robert Card.

“Whereas we’d like stricter laws, we additionally must destigmatize psychological well being issues, which additionally performed a task on this tragedy,” mentioned Amos.

Maine’s gun legal guidelines are presently beneath a nationwide microscope, with questions on how Card, who was recognized to have been handled for psychological sickness, was allowed to buy assault weapons.

In 2019, Maine got here near adopting pink flag gun legal guidelines. Pink flag legal guidelines enable authorities or households to hunt an order to briefly take away somebody’s weapons or forestall them from buying any.

The state as an alternative opted for yellow flag legal guidelines, thought-about by some to be much less of an infringement on an individual’s rights by requiring a advice from a medical skilled earlier than authorities can take away somebody’s weapons or prohibit future purchases.

A gaggle of Bates School college students attend a rally Saturday at Capitol Park in Augusta in an effort to assist them course of the Oct. 25 mass capturing in Lewiston. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

Moreover, Maine doesn’t require background checks for all gun purchases, or a allow to hold hid weapons for most individuals 21 and older. The sale of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons is authorized.

Folks collect at Capitol Park in Augusta on Saturday to demand gun security laws. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

Derry Adkins, 70, carried together with her an indication that learn: “Prayers Don’t Save Lives.” She identified that she made the signal half a decade in the past.

“I purchased my first home in Sandy Hook, so yeah I’ve seen a fair proportion of those shootings,” mentioned Adkins, who now lives in Portland. “The primary mass homicide I noticed was in Connecticut in 1995 when a landlord killed 5 younger males.”

To Adkins, these occasions are usually not stunning anymore, however they do shock her. “Each time this occurs, you possibly can’t go bowling anymore, you possibly can’t go taking part in cornhole, you possibly can’t spend time with individuals you’re keen on.”

Adkins mentioned she would like to see red-flag gun laws enacted, along with a gun buy-back program and a ban on assault rifles.

“After each capturing individuals run to purchase extra weapons however there are lots of who additionally need to return them. Loads of households have to be saying, ‘I’ve one thing very harmful in the home and it’s beneficial so I can’t throw it, so what to do?’” Adkins added.

A gaggle of Bates School college students maintain palms on the finish of Saturday’s rally at Capitol Park in Augusta. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

Residents from Lisbon and Lewiston took the stage to share what they felt after the shootings because the manhunt for the shooter dragged on. College students from Bates School in Lewiston, which went beneath lockdown after studies of the capturing, have been in attendance. Members of the Deaf neighborhood, who misplaced 4 of their very own, despatched their regards as they couldn’t attend the rally as a result of it conflicted with a funeral.

Katye Fromuth, 15, a Yarmouth Excessive College scholar, spoke to the gang Saturday throughout a rally on gun violence at Capitol Park in Augusta. Sofia Aldinio/Portland Press Herald

Amidst the present of solidarity, a singular determine appeared within the distance, clad in a stars-and-stripes tracksuit, holding a poster that learn: “Defend America, Purchase Weapons.”

The person shouted sporadically in the midst of speeches, nearly heckling, deeming that the tragedy in Lewiston was not related to weapons. A couple of turned and grimaced, others whispered to one another, and most overlooked him.

Katya Fromuth, a 15-year-old sophomore from Yarmouth Excessive College, took the stage and through her speech, regarded instantly on the man from 50 toes away and declared, “I’m not intimidated.”

The person left midway via Fromuth’s speech.

She spoke on behalf of scholars who’re drilled for lively shooter eventualities always, as if it’s an accepted actuality. She demanded change.

“Nobody stops to level out the absurdity of those conversations. We deserve a secure and completely satisfied childhood,” mentioned Fromuth. “We try to empty a tub with a spoon whereas the faucet is operating, and nobody thought to show off the faucet?”

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