Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

As new information emerges about the suspected gunman in Wednesday’s deadly shootings in Lewiston, Maine, the situation is raising questions about how 40-year-old Robert Card was allegedly able to own the weapon used in the attacks. 

With a longstanding culture of gun-ownership, Maine is highly protective of gun rights. According to Massachusetts advocacy group “Stop Handgun Violence,” the state does not ban high capacity guns. The group said Maine also does not require background checks or permits to buy and carry such a weapon. 

“It was absolutely preventable,” said Stop Handgun Violence Co-Founder John Rosenthal. “But, in Maine, they don’t have the tools to prevent it.” 

Rosenthal said Maine “is one of the worst offenders,” adding “There are virtually no gun laws in Maine.” 

7NEWS has learned that, unlike Massachusetts, Maine does not have a “Red Flag Law,” which allows a judge to temporarily take a person’s guns away if family members report that they pose a risk to themselves or others. 

While Maine lacks Red Flag legislation, Massachusetts lawmakers recently voted to strengthen the state’s law. 

“Now, we’re adding mental health professionals, police, school officials because these are all folks that actually, in many cases, know more about the people than the people that you live with,” Rosenthal said. 

Investigators said Card allegedly first targeted a bowling alley in Lewiston before moving to a restaurant in town around 7 p.m. Maine’s Governor on Thursday morning said at least 18 people were killed. Thirteen people were injured. 

Authorities shared photos on Wednesday of a gunman in connection with the shootings. Investigators said the photos show Card holding a high-powered rifle that he allegedly used in the attacks.

In this situation, Card is believed to be very familiar with weapons, with a police bulletin circulated to law enforcement officials revealing he is a trained firearms instructor. Military officials said Card enlisted with the Army in December of 2002. He is now in the reserves. 

According to the Associated Press, police previously took Card in for evaluation after he was acting erratically while training at West Point in mid-July. Card was committed to a mental health facility for two weeks. 

“We know this army-trained, sharp shooter up in Maine was in a mental health institution,” Rosenthal said. “But there was no background check required, so where are you going to even find that information?”

Gun control advocates in Maine were organizing on Thursday as they call for stronger measures to prevent gun violence.

READ: Latest coverage on shootings in Lewiston and the search for Robert Card

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