In the aftermath of the Lewiston, Maine rampage, which left at least 18 people dead and another 13 injured, anti-gunners—including Joe Biden, Gavin Newsom, and March For Our Lives—are exploiting the mayhem to either push an agenda or raise money, and reporters at one prominent newspaper offer advice on what to do if caught in an active shooter situation.
Suspected killer Robert Card was found dead about 48 hours after the shooting, as noted by the Daily Mail and other news agencies. His body was at the rear of an industrial tractor trailer about 10 miles from the initial shooting scenes, a bowling alley and restaurant. Two guns were reportedly found next to the body. As reported by CNN, authorities believe the gun he used had been purchased legally in mid-July, before he was hospitalized for mental health evaluation, thus refuting suggestions a 72-hour “waiting period” might have made a difference. The CNN report says the purchase was made 10 days prior to reports he had been “hearing voices” and making other concerning remarks.
CNN also sensationalized its report, quoting unidentified sources, by asserting, “The powerful rifle was a Ruger SFAR chambered for high-powered 308 ammunition, according to the sources.” It is widely known that the .308 Winchester is a cartridge used for deer, bear and elk hunting across the U.S.
Predictably, Maine Democrats reportedly are going to pursue tougher gun laws. According to the New Hampshire Bulletin, Maine State Rep. Lori Gramlich (D-Old Orchard), a member of the legislature’s “gun safety caucus,” signaled her intentions, erroneously suggesting the Second Amendment is about hunting.
“I respect that people hunt,” she reportedly stated. “But last time I checked, you don’t hunt with an assault weapon – those are not hunting tools, those are weapons of death and weapons of war. And I personally don’t see any reason for those weapons to be on the street in the hands of citizens.”
President Biden quickly began pushing his long-standing gun control agenda, Newsom tried to blame the shooting on Republicans in the Maine Legislature for blocking a waiting period bill—despite the fact that Democrats control both houses of the legislature and occupy the governor’s office—and the Washington Post discussed the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy while avoiding any mention of being armed and taking out the shooter. While advice from some experts is included in the article, there is not a single reference to incidents in recent memory in which armed private citizens fatally shot the bad guys.
The closest the WaPo comes is this: “Attack. If your only option is to directly attack a shooter, choose what you’ll use as a weapon and aim for vital areas such as the head, eyes, throat and midsection. Be aggressive and don’t quit.”
There was no reference to the May 2022 incident in Charleston, W.Va., when an armed female bystander intervened in a shooting incident involving a 37-year-old man “with an extensive criminal history” who was armed with a rifle.
Nor was there a mention of the July 2022 incident at the Greenwood Park, Indiana mall where Elisjsha Dicken fatally shot a would-be mass killer who had already murdered three people in the food court area. Dicken fired ten shots and connected with eight of them, according to WTHR News. That killer was also armed with a rifle.
For his part, President Biden trotted out the same “solutions” he has offered in the past: ban so-called “assault rifles” and “high-capacity magazines,” adopt “universal background checks,” mandatory “safe storage” without defining what that is, and—absurdly because it would have nothing to do with the Maine tragedy—repeal the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prohibits junk lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
In the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people.
Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, enact universal background checks, and more. pic.twitter.com/8qakUrkZcK
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 26, 2023
Newsom’s self-insertion into the story almost immediately left egg on his face. As noted by Politico, the anti-gun California governor “slammed Maine Republicans on social media for rejecting a gun control bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period for firearm purchases” while possibly hoping most people would overlook the fact that “Democrats have control of both Maine’s House and Senate.”
Republicans in Maine rejected a bill this year that would have required a waiting period for firearm purchases.
They seriously could not fathom waiting 72 hours to buy a gun.
Maine also does not…
– Ban assault weapons
– Require permits to carry a gun in public
– Require… https://t.co/18IoTtYRsY
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) October 26, 2023
A waiting period would not likely have prevented the shooting. NBC News reported—while other media do not appear to have followed up—that the suspect, Robert Card, legally purchased the semi-auto rifle allegedly used in the shooting “this year,” though there was no approximate date included in the single-paragraph note appearing in NBC’s minute-by-minute coverage.
Politico noted the June rejection of the bill “was bipartisan, failing in the House 73-69 with 65 Republicans and seven Democrats voting against and in the Senate 24-11 with all 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats voting against.”
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms came out swinging against Biden and Newsom and their attempts to exploit the tragedy. CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb blistered both Democrats, calling their efforts “deplorable political posturing.”
“Biden, Newsom and other gun prohibitionists are dragging out the same tired agenda which they have always proposed,” Gottlieb said. “They have simply repackaged it with the events in Lewiston, Maine, which is a disgusting exploitation of a horrible crime. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
Speaking for the Second Amendment Foundation, which he founded almost 50 years ago, Gottlieb added, “As expected, the gun prohibition crowd—including President Joe Biden—immediately started banging the drum for more restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens who have harmed nobody…The knee-jerk demands from anti-gunners, from Joe Biden on down, to penalize honest citizens amounts to a disgusting exploitation of a horrible tragedy for which one person alone is responsible. Disarming gun owners has never helped prevent a crime in the past, and it certainly won’t prevent tragedies in the future.”
Likewise, Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, released a statement asserting, “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.”
Possibly the most egregious and callous exploitation comes from the March For Our Lives group. In an email blast Thursday, the group claimed to be “grieving the loss” of lives but remembered to include a click command at the end of their lament to allow readers to make a financial donation.
Interestingly, a couple of points in the message are worthy of attention for their bizarre content:
“There are laws that protect shady cops who kill unarmed Black folks.
“There are laws like Stand Your Ground and concealed carry that turn neighbors into violent agitators.”
Perhaps to make his own political hay in the midst of this story, Maine Democrat Congressman Jared Golden, who previously voted against his party’s gun control measures, “came out in support of an assault weapons ban on Thursday,” according to CNN.
Golden, who represents Maine’s Second District, stated during a press conference, “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.”
Only time will tell if this about-face on firearms will hurt him if he runs for re-election in 2024.
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.