U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat representing Maine’s Second Congressional District, in his office. (Robin Bravender/ States Newsroom)
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, said his worst nightmare came to life Wednesday night when a mass shooting unfolded in his hometown.
At a news conference Thursday evening at Lewiston City Hall, he called on Congress to ban assault weapons.
“Because of a false confidence that our community was above this and that we could be in full control, among many other misjudgments, I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault weapon used to carry out this crime,” Golden said, referring to his past votes against such gun reform policies.
“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 like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing.”
He asked for forgiveness from the victims’ families and the greater community, and said he will work with any colleague to pass an assault weapons ban in the time he has left in Congress. Golden’s current term ends in 2025.
When asked if she feels the same, Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said it’s “more important” to ban “very high capacity” magazines. She also said she would consider raising the age at which someone can purchase a high capacity weapon from 18 to 21.
Collins, a Republican, commented on the ongoing effort between local, state and federal officials to find the perpetrator of the mass shooting and said everyone is “committed to bringing the killer to justice.”
“To the families, I know that no words can fully ease the shock, the pain and the justifiable anger that you are feeling,” Collins said. “My hope is that you will feel the solace and strength in knowing that you are in the hearts of the people in Maine and of people throughout our nation.”
There was no update news conference on the manhunt for the 40-year-old suspect, Robert Card, which has now stretched almost 24 hours. Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline reiterated that the shelter in place order still remains.
Eight victims remained at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Thursday, said Steve Littleson, president and CEO of Central Maine Healthcare, who also spoke.
Five of those people are in stable condition, while three are in the critical care unit.
He explained that all but one patient was taken to CMMC after the incident. Two were treated and discharged and another was transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Within 45 minutes to an hour of victims arriving, CMMC had six fully staffed operating rooms caring for them.
The state of Maine has launched a website with behavioral health resources for Mainers affected by the mass shooting.
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