On the one-year anniversary of the horrific Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people, I attended an event at York High School featuring gubernatorial candidates Janet Mills, Terry Hayes and Alan Caron. They shared the stage with six thoughtful, well-prepared students, who asked questions all relevant to a Mainer’s quality of life.

Two of the first three questions asked were about reducing gun violence. Maine lags behind Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey in legislation that protects against gun violence. A 2016 referendum to extend background checks to all gun sales failed. An attempt this year to pass a “red flag” bill, creating a “community protection order,” also failed.

Gov. LePage has shown no leadership on this issue. Thankfully, we have three gubernatorial candidates who appear to favor stronger gun-violence prevention measures.

Students are at the forefront of nationwide recognition that we need to do more to stop the gun violence epidemic. Students want to know how our next governor will reduce this threat.

Shawn Moody, the fourth candidate, declined the invitation to the event. Mr. Moody has no legislative experience and is on record as saying he doesn’t believe we need to make any changes to Maine’s gun laws. He has stated that students faced with a shooter should use school fire extinguishers to protect themselves. There is simply too much at stake to risk the election of Shawn Moody.

I want to thank Ms. Mills, Ms. Hayes and Mr. Caron for their thoughtful answers to questions at the event, and, most importantly, for showing up. It is incumbent that our next governor takes the lead on ensuring Maine never joins the ranks of Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Sutherland, Orlando, and so many other places where people thought “it will never happen here.”

Kathleen McFadden

volunteer state chapter lead, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America


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