Stephen King has long believed mass shootings could happen anywhere.

Yet, like so many of his fellow Mainers, the slaying of 18 people in Lewiston last week hit him on an emotional level, shattering illusions that our small state, tucked as it is into the far northeastern corner of the country, is somehow immune to such tragedy.

“We live in a rural state, neighbors get along, we have a tendency to pull together in hard times, so there probably was a feeling that it can’t happen here, but it can, and it will again,” said King, 76. “Guns are everywhere. This guy was crazy and he was able to get guns and nobody was able to take them away.”

Book Publishers Antitrust Stephen King

Stephen King says he’s always believed a mass shooting could happen anywhere, but seeing one happen where he grew up “means more.” Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

King, Maine’s best-known author and a face of the state to many around the country, spoke about the Lewiston shootings with the Press Herald on Friday afternoon, while the search for shooting suspect Robert Card was still active and many businesses and schools around the state remained closed. Card was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a recycling center trailer in Lisbon Falls on Friday night.

The shooting was literally close to home for King, who grew up in Durham and went to high school in nearby Lisbon Falls. Though he’s always outraged and saddened when he reads about a mass shooting, he said, last week’s tragedy “means more.”

“I was watching the footage on TV (of police searching Lisbon Falls), and I knew where all the places were, where all the roads go. That’s where I grew up. I could see where I used to walk to work at the Worumbo mill,” said King. “It always means more when you know the place. It shouldn’t, necessarily. We’re all the same people.”


King, who is recovering from hip surgery, was at one of his Maine homes when the shootings occurred but did not want to say which one.

King has long been an outspoken advocate for stricter access to guns as way to cut down on gun violence. His outrage at this recent shooting along with the raw emotion of having it happen in his home state were evident in comments he posted on X on Oct. 26, the day after the shootings.

“The shootings occurred less than 50 miles from where I live. I went to high school in Lisbon. It’s the rapid-fire killing machines, people. This is madness in the name of freedom. Stop electing apologists for murder.”

He continued to publicly comment on the shootings on Oct. 27, when he had a short opinion piece published by the New York Times.

“When rapid-fire guns are difficult to get, things improve, but I see no such improvement in the future. Americans love guns and appear willing to pay the price in blood,” King wrote.

King told the Press Herald he was glad to see that U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District, which includes Lewiston, reversed his previous position and now supports a ban on assault rifles. But King said he thought such a ban was not likely to become law given the current political climate. He also said he planned to reach out to politicians to come out in favor of assault weapon bans and said he was “disappointed” in Sen. Susan Collins for not doing so yet.

“Seeing Golden reverse his position meant a lot to me,” said King. “Somebody has to do something sooner or later, or nothing will change. “

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