Independent Commission Report Reveals That More Gun Control Would Not Have Stopped Maine Mass Shooter

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An independent commission has compiled an interim report on the mass shooting that took place in Lewiston, Maine, in October 2023 that resulted in 18 people losing their lives. Army reservist Robert Card opened fire in a bowling alley and bar before he was found dead in a different location after the shooting.

The interim report reveals details about the events leading up to the day of the shooting and shows that the state’s “yellow flag” laws were impotent to stop the tragedy. It revealed that the authorities had cause to seize Card’s firearms and take him into protective custody in the years before he carried out the attack.

The commission’s findings highlight a disturbing pattern showing that even when law enforcement is alerted to potential threats, they often fail to take preemptive action to ensure public safety. Unfortunately, this exact scenario has played out in numerous cases nationwide.

A sheriff’s office investigating a mass shooting in Maine had cause to take the killer into protective custody beforehand and to take away his guns, according to a report issued by an independent commission Friday.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey assembled the commission to review both the events leading up to Oct. 25, when Army reservist Robert Card killed 18 people in a bowling alley and a bar, and the response to the tragedy.

Led by a former chief justice of Maine’s highest court, the commission also included a former U.S. attorney and the former chief forensic psychologist for the state. It held seven sessions starting in November, hearing from law enforcement, survivors and victims’ family members and members of the U.S. Army Reserve as it explored whether anything could have been done to prevent the tragedy and what changes should be made going forward.

The report details the warning signs that were brought to the attention of law enforcement before Card carried out the mass shooting.

In May, relatives warned police that Card had grown paranoid, and they expressed concern about his access to guns. In July, Card was hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for two weeks after shoving a fellow reservist and locking himself in a motel room. In August, the Army barred him from handling weapons while on duty and declared him nondeployable. And in September, a fellow reservist texted an Army supervisor about his growing concerns about Card, saying, “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting.”

But law enforcement officials told commission members that Maine’s yellow flag law makes it difficult to remove guns from potentially dangerous people.

“I couldn’t get him to the door. I can’t make him open the door,” said Sgt. Aaron Skolfield, who visited Card’s home for a welfare check in September. “If I had kicked in the door, that would’ve been a violation of the law.”

These revelations fly in the face of the gun control lobby, which tends to exploit these tragedies to push its agenda to disarm Americans. Of course, the anti-gunner folks would suggest this means Maine needs stricter laws regarding firearms. However, even without red flag laws, making threats is illegal. Card made multiple threatening statements to fellow soldiers before he finally acted. It seems apparent that law enforcement could have done more to avoid the brutal murder of 18 people.

Unfortunately, the tragedy in Maine echoes those in other states. In Houston, Texas, a woman attempted to carry out a mass shooting at Lakewood Church. Fortunately, she was stopped before she could take any lives. But it was later revealed by her neighbors and former mother-in-law that she had also exhibited violent behavior, threatening people around her and brandishing firearms.

In her case, law enforcement should have intervened long before she tried to commit mass murder at Lakewood Church, but they didn’t. It was the actions of the off-duty officers who were present on the campus who made sure she did not cause more damage.

The reality is that imposing more restrictions on gun owners doesn’t protect potential victims. Indeed, each state already has laws allowing law enforcement to intervene if an individual exhibits behavior that is clearly threatening. Unfortunately, the main takeaway from this report is going to be that Maine needs even more laws making it difficult for its residents to keep and bear arms.

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