We can save lives together. Political banter has been thrown around in press conferences, on our State House legislative floors, in rallies, with seemingly poor regard for the lives lost to gun violence and families living with abysmal grief in the name of “rights” and comparing Maine to other American cities.

House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham compared the massacre of 18 lives in Lewiston to a bad weekend in Chicago. Their families are broken-hearted people — not city comparison statistics. My murdered brother is not a comparison statistic. Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart said “… some folks are using a horrific tragedy to try to justify a political agenda.” Are they actually trying to reduce murders and suicides in Maine to show they care about lives versus upholding an agenda? Are people adhering to an agenda as they tout gun rights versus conducting more thorough background checks and imposing a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases, which does not stop lawful gun purchases from happening?
Do people wait for a drivers license via driving classes and tests before guiding a 3,000-10,000 pound car or truck at speeds up to 70-plus mph?

I urge Maine legislators to stop campaign and bully pulpit claims about political agendas, and city murder-rate comparisons, and instead demonstrate compassionate leadership. Act with Democrat, Independent and Republican colleagues to save lives.

Gun violence is not a political agenda item. It’s a horrible, gut-wrenching reality calling our Maine leaders to act now!

Roy Smoot

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