In 2009, in my role as notary public, I officiated the wedding of a colleague and her partner. Both were close friends of mine. These young people were my children’s ages. They were intelligent, caring, hardworking people who clearly loved each other.

Over the next 10 years, I watched their family grow. They were the remarkable parents of three children and were expecting their fourth. In 2019, all of that changed. The young man was struggling with depression at that time. His wife was aware of this, and they worked together to try to overcome it. In September 2019, he walked away from his home and shot himself. In the aftermath of his death, his devastated widow felt that she should have been able to save him.

Maine’s yellow flag law was not in place at that time. It would be another year before it was enacted. Even then, an Extreme Risk Protection Order would not be an option. Looking back on the tragedy, I have mourned the fact that his widow did not have the tools she needed to have the gun taken away. She knew her husband well, but at that time, the authorities could not remove the weapon.

With a red flag law in place, we will have one of the tools we need to help keep our loved ones safe.

Dana Williams
The First Church in Belfast Gun Safety Work Group

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