By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,323)
Community leaders who support gun control legisation at the federal level gathered this morning at Portland’s city hall just as many Americans were doing at other locations across the country today. Community leaders called upon the public to call their district Senate offices and urge them to pass commonsense legislation. “We will keep coming back until this happens,” said Mayor Michael Brennan in the State of Maine room at city hall. “It is so easy for people here and elsewhere to buy guns with no background check. There are 13 pages of guns for sale, not subject to background checks, in Uncle Henry’s,” said Mayor Brennan, displaying a copy of the inexpensive weekly that is widely distributed in Maine.
In his opening remarks, Mayor Brennan, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, urged federal legislation to ban assault weapons, establish limits on multiple bullet weapons, implement better background checks and pass penalties for gun trafficking. Former Mayor Laurent F. Gilbert of Lewiston, a founding member of Coalition for a Safer Maine, said that not everyone sees the effects of gun violence in our neighborhoods as does this group today. “We do not want more of the same politicans afraid to stand up for gun control legislation. Ask Collnis and King to listen to us and support safe gun laws.”
Several members of the religious community spoke as well. The Very Rev. Benjamin A. Shambaugh, D. Min., Dean of The Cathedral Church of St. Luke read a recent letter from Maine’s Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, sent to Maine’s Congressional Delegation. Bishop Lane acknowledged that Maine has a long tradition of hunting and responsible gun ownership. “Our greater responsibility, however, as people entrusted with the common good, is to protect the innocment from gun violence – whether it stems from the domestic violence that too often plauges communities across Maine, or from the horrific acts of a rampage shooter.”
Police chief MIchael Sauschuck said that today is a “specially powerful day.” He recalled the death of Darien Richardson three years ago. Two masked men broke into her apartment and shot her. The same weapon was found in another crime shortly thereafter. But the owner cannot remember to whom he sold the weapon,” he said. “No background check was needed.”
Former Mayor Gilbert echoed Mayor Brennan’s sentiments: “The struggle continues. We will continue until we get good commonsense legislation. Why have needless deaths?”