PORTLAND — The heads of six Maine colleges are among more than 160 college presidents nationwide calling for stricter gun control in the wake of the Connecticut shooting that killed 20 elementary school students.

A group called “College Presidents for Gun Safety” launched a website Wednesday with an open letter urging lawmakers to oppose legislation allowing guns on college campuses; to reinstate the ban on military-style, semi-automatic weapons; and to end a loophole allowing people to buy guns from unlicensed sellers at gun shows without criminal background checks.

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The letter says it’s time for Americans to live free from the threat of gun violence.

Signing the letter from Maine were the presidents of the University of New England, College of the Atlantic and Bates, Bowdoin, Colby and St. Joseph’s colleges.