December 17, 2012

Pingree, King: Time to revisit gun control

By Kevin Miller
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Collins' office pointed out that she voted in 2004 to extend the ban on assault weapons under the Brady Bill and has supported instant background checks for gun purchasers.

"Senator Collins grew up in northern Maine where responsible gun ownership is part of the heritage of many families," Collins spokesman Kevin Kelley said in a written statement. "While denying the rights of law-abiding citizens won't change the behavior of those intent on using firearms for criminal purposes, Senator Collins believes that our country should examine what can be done to help prevent gun violence."

Collins' office did not reply to subsequent requests for more information on specific gun-control issues.

Collins received nearly $20,000 from the NRA's political action committee from 1996 to 2002, but has not received any contributions since then. Collins has received more than $17,000 in financial contributions from Richard Dyke, the CEO of the former Bushmaster Firearms facility in Windham, or his family members since 1996, campaign finance records show. The last contribution was in 2007, however.

Michaud, a conservative or "Blue Dog" Democrat, has traditionally defended gun-owners' rights and opposed numerous gun-control initiatives. For instance, he has voted to end Washington, D.C.'s ban on gun ownership and voted to support legislation shielding gun manufacturers from lawsuits.

"A national conversation about curbing violence in America is overdue, especially in the wake of these unthinkable murders," Michaud said. "That conversation has to include how we can better enforce our gun laws while at the same time addressing the root causes of these tragedies, which are too often related to how we as a nation do or do not address the mental health care challenges facing our country."

Michaud is the top recipient in recent years of donations from the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund, which has contributed $18,000 to the Democrat since 2004, including $3,000 in this past election cycle.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, another moderate Republican, likewise declined to comment on specific proposals. Snowe is unlikely to have a chance to vote on substantive gun measures before she retires next month.

"Senator Snowe believes this is a time for national mourning, and for Americans to come together in support of the families of the victims, the survivors, and the heroic first responders," Snowe spokesman Chris Averill said in a written response. "There will be opportunity to have a national discussion and a debate on gun issues in the coming new Congress."

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

Twitter: @KevinMillerDC


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