On Sunday I sat next to my mother in church and prayed for the victims of the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. Last night, I listened to members and friends at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland decry the intolerance that gives rise to hate crimes, along with the incredible resilience of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh and so many other communities.
According to news reports, the killer at Tree of Life Synagogue was extensively armed; he used some combination of a semiautomatic rifle and three Glock handguns to murder eleven people. The common denominator in all of our mass shootings is guns, and at times it seems the gun lobby is too entrenched and our government too gridlocked to do anything about it.
Even as we feel incredible sadness for this latest tragedy, we should not feel despair. There are policies which have successfully reduced gun deaths, and now is the time for lawmakers across the U.S. to step up and support them. Policies such as universal background checks, domestic-abuser firearm bans, red flag gun safety laws and regulations on assault weapon do make a difference. Now is the time to make a real difference here in Maine and across the country.
(One way to learn about Maine’s gun laws and how they compare to other states is at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Look under the tab “Gun Laws” and then “State Laws.”)
Paid for and authorized by Vicki Doudera.