Sens. Collins and King should have kept fingers in pockets, rather than point them at the Army, seeking reason for 18 deaths and 13 wounded in the Lewiston mass shooting (“Collins, King call on Army’s inspector general to investigate Lewiston shooter’s history,” Nov. 6). Plain old, “passing the buck,” to shelter questionable political doings at home.

The Army, acting within its jurisdiction, following Card’s return to Maine, from a New York psychiatric hospital stay of 14 days, declared him “non-deployable,” and barred him from using Army-issued weapons, handling ammunition, or participating in live fire activity. The Army lacked authority over non-Army activity. Collins and King know that.

There is no question the terrible disaster was caused by firing of an assault weapon. Both Collins and King have been longtime supporters of them. Collins continues to oppose a ban because its “too broad.” But she withholds specifics. King is equally puzzling, re: his refusal to sign a bill pending in the Senate, banning 200 specific assault-style weapons. Reason? His new bill addressing weapon “technologies” that make such weapons deadly. Apparently, he is not interested in the “machine-gun” result at the end of the barrel that spewed death and injury, as here.

The shooting caused Rep. Jared Golden to change his political stance, from an admitted “failed support,” of such weapons, to a call, “on the U.S. Congress to ban assault rifles.” Congress has already authored a ban on 200 of them, pending passage in the Senate. He did not express support; assuming he was aware of it.

Fixing the political mistakes that resulted in the horrific mass-shooting, will, unfortunately, take political guts we lack. Call a spade a spade; an assault-weapon  has the makings of a machine gun. Yellow and red flag laws are powerless.

Common-sense legislation is required, but nobody knows what it is.

John Benoit


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