Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) who previously opposed banning assault weapons now promises to do anything he can to outlaw “weapons of war” after a gunman killed 18 people and injured more than a dozen others in two mass shootings in his hometown of Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday.
“Because of a false confidence that our community was above this and that we could be in full control, among many other misjudgments,I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault rifle he used to carry out this crime,” Golden said a press conference Thursday evening at Lewiston City Hall. “The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing in my hometown of Lewiston, Maine.”
“For the good of my community, I will work with any colleague to get this done in the time that I have left in Congress,” he added.
Last year, Golden was one of a handful of Democrats who broke with the party to oppose a wide ranging gun control bill that raised the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle and prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds, according to the Associated Press.
Golden’s comments came after Robert Card, 40, killed at least 18 people and wounded 13 others at two locations in Lewiston: a bowling alley where a children’s league was taking place and a local bar.
Authorities say Card, who was trained as a firearms instructor at a U.S. Army Reserve, used a semi-automatic assault-style rifle to carry out the attack.
Card purchased the weapon legally despite having a history of mental illness. His family members told NBC News that he began to hear voices that were saying “horrible” things about him a couple of months ago.
In July, Card’s military commanders sent him to receive inpatient psychiatric treatment after they became concerned about threats he made to the base and his claims that he was hearing voices.