UPDATED: National Bus Tour Rallying To Reduce Gun Violence Makes Stop In Augusta
A national bus tour rallying to reduce gun violence stopped in Augusta on Monday. “33 people are murdered every day with firearms and so we need to stop this violence. And the way we can do this is with good common sense gun legislation. We need to keep the concealed weapons permit process. We need to limit the amount of rounds on a clip for a firearm,” said Former Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert who spoke at the rally. He is now Co-Chair of “Coalition For A Safer Maine.” A group calling itself “Mayors Against Illegal Guns’” who put together the rally is trying to raise awareness of the issue of gun violence and to keep lawmakers in check. “We need our elected officials to pass such legislation. It’s their just duty to protect the electorate,” said Gilbert. Community members who care about the issue read aloud names of those who have died from gun violence. It was the first time a South Portland woman saw her daughter’s name on the bus.”January 8th 2010, she was asleep at 1:30 in the morning and intruders burst in and she was shot several times. She didn’t die immediately, she was in the hospital for 20 days and she died of a pulmonary embolism due to the gunshot wounds,” said Judi Richarson. She says the same gun that killed her daughter, Darien, was also used to kill another man. “When the police traced the weapon, they traced it to a gun show where it was sold without any background check. No records were kept. The guy can’t remember who bought it. So in essence that just leaves our case a cold case,” said Richardson. She hopes this rally makes people realize that gun violence is preventable and senseless. “We need to change. We’re talking about gun sense, just common sense gun laws not taking away people’s weapons totally. We all need to get together and say enough is enough,” said Richardson. The bus is scheduled to make stops in twenty-five states in one hundred days. It’s next stop is Concord, New Hampshire. While that was happening outside, legislators inside the capitol building rejected a bill supporting optional background checks in private sales today. The bill was defeated in a 16 – 19 vote.The legislation would have imposed a $500 civil fine on sellers if they do not perform a background check and the buyer is later discovered to be a prohibited person.