Shawn Moody said on WVOM, “a fire extinguisher can be a great deterrent if somebody gets out of control or if anything happens.”

AUGUSTA — A Republican candidate for governor in Maine was drawing national media attention Tuesday for telling a Maine radio show this week that public school staff could use fire extinguishers to disable a would-be school shooter.

Shawn Moody of Gorham, the founder of Moody’s Collision Centers and a leading fundraiser in the June primary race, made the comments to talk show host Ric Tyler of WVOM in Bangor on Monday.

“This is a common-sense thing I want everybody to hear,” Moody said. “When you think about little common-sense things, practical things, we could do right now, there are fire extinguishers, dry chemical fire extinguishers, in every commercial building, school, and almost within 100 feet of wherever you are, and a fire extinguisher can be a great deterrent if somebody gets out of control or if anything happens, a teacher, anybody could break that glass, set the alarm off, grab that dry chemical fire extinguisher and spray it towards somebody and I’ll tell you right now that could put them to their knees.”

The Hill, an online political publication in Washington, D.C. picked up on Moody’s comments on Tuesday, running a short piece. So did Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” who tweeted a link to The Hill report with the comment, “A good guy with a fire extinguisher?”

Moody and other candidates in the 2018 governor’s race in Maine had been asked a series of five questions on gun control by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 20 including their positions on assault weapons, high-capacity magazine or bump stock bans, expanded background checks and another gun-related measure before the Legislature.

Most candidates, in the Feb. 25 report, which appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram, either answered the questions directly with yes or no answers or provided a brief explanation for each answer.

Moody instead had his campaign spokeswoman, Lauren LePage, issue a statement on his behalf noting his support for the 2nd Amendment and the need for additional school resource officers.

“As governor, Shawn will always support our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights. There are thousands and thousands of peaceful gun owners in Maine, and Maine has a long history of responsible firearms ownership and safety,” the statement said.

Moody’s fire extinguisher comment had Republican lawmakers at the State House on Tuesday sharing different online memes, including a photo of a woman putting out a kitchen fire with a fire extinguisher, described as “Shawn Moody’s AR-15 defense system.” Another featured a photo of several dry chemical fire extinguishers, labeled “Shawn Moody’s arsenal.”

Moody’s comment also drew a sharp rebuke from the Maine Democratic Party, which has made a point of countering Moody’s campaign on close to a daily basis.

“A fire extinguisher is an effective tool for stopping a small fire – not for stopping a hail of deadly bullets sprayed out of an assault weapon,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a prepared statement. “This is not at all the type of serious leadership that Mainers are looking for in their next governor.”

Moody did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday.

Brent Littlefield, a political consultant who works for Moody, pushed back on Twitter, noting that safety experts have, in fact, advised a fire extinguisher may be used to thwart an active shooter. He shared a link to a YouTube video produced by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office that depicts the use of a fire extinguisher in a dramatization of a workplace shooting.

“Instead of Democrat activists and their friends attacking @Moody4Gov, maybe they should do a bit of research first,” Littlefield tweeted with the link to the video.

Littlefield also serves as a consultant to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who appointed Moody to serve on the board of trustees for both the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System. Moody previously ran for governor in 2010 as an independent and joined the Maine Republican Party last October, just six weeks before he announced his candidacy.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: thisdog