Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

Like most, I am heartbroken and anxious and angry over the recent mass shooting in Lewiston.

I am heartbroken for the lives lost, the families shattered, the kids who are having trouble sleeping at night now.

I am anxious over the lack of answers, clarity or safety we have.

I am angry because this feels like a problem our nation anguishes over time after deeply regrettable time, but doesn’t take steps to fix. And I doubt this will be any different.

Or will it?

Will this be the time we say “enough” and mean it? Enough of the senseless death and terror. Will this be the time we finally enact some meaningful gun ownership reform?


Maine is a tricky state when it comes to gun laws. Like a lot of rural states, people here hunt. Lots of Maine homes rely upon a firearm to supplement their food supply or protect their livestock. People want to protect that, and I get it.

However, let’s take a moment for the bigger picture. According to a report by CNN, “there are 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. No other nation has more civilian guns than people.”

It should not be a shock then that, as noted in that same report, “the U.S. has the highest firearm homicide rate in the developed world.”

What that statement fails to capture is the true enormity of it all. It’s not just that we have “the most” – we have the most firearm homicides by a lot. PBS notes a University of Sydney statistic that while the U.S. has about 3.5 gun homicides per 100,000 people, the next highest, Israel, has 1 per 100,000. We have 3.5 times as many as the next highest.

Our nightmare in Lewiston marked the 565th multiple shooting this year alone according to the Gun Violence Archive, and this year’s eighth major mass shooting according to the New York Times.

It was only a matter of time before Maine made the grim statistics.


We have failed, repeatedly, to pass common sense gun laws. Currently, ranks Maine just 25th in the nation for gun safety laws, noting that we lack both red flag laws and universal background checks.

We also lack a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons, which appears to have been what was used in Lewiston.

Maine Congressman Jared Golden had had, at least, the decency to openly acknowledge his prior vote blocking a ban on assault rifles was a mistake. He has begged the forgiveness of his constituents in the wake of the violence, and vowed to work for restrictions.

Sen. Susan Collins, who also voted against the continuing the ban, as well as against bans on high capacity magazines, has simply shimmied around the issue, calling for sympathy but stopping short of decrying the gun lobby. It does not escape my notice that The Guardian reports the NRA has donated $18,000 to Collins.

I love this weird, strange and quirky state we all call home. I do not want to take away from the rural nature of this place, or infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. But at some point, the right to exist, the right to be safe when out with friends or bowling with kids – in other words, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – has got to be understood as of the utmost importance.

May this be that moment.

Comments are not available on this story.