On Wednesday night, Lewiston, Maine witnessed a horrifying mass shooting at a local bar and bowling alley that was hosting a youth night, claiming the lives of 18 individuals and wounding at least 13. This tragic incident, which is the second mass shooting in Maine this year, contributes to the alarming tally of 565 mass shootings recorded by the Gun Violence Archive in 2023, each involving four or more casualties, excluding the perpetrator. These statistics paint a bleak picture, making 2023 one of the deadliest years in the sorrowful history of gun violence.
As the search for the suspect continues and local authorities urge residents to seek shelter, Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, expressed her condolences:
“We are deeply heartbroken for Lewiston, understanding all too well the profound and devastating impact that shootings like these have on a community. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all those who have had to bear witness to and endure the consequences of this tragic and unforgivable event. It is heart-wrenching to think of families currently sheltering in place, struggling to come to terms with this news, and facing the difficult task of explaining to their children why their normal day at school cannot resume.”
Early reports indicate the suspect demonstrated some of the warnings signs that can signal an individual may be in crisis or need help, and if appropriate actions are taken, can prevent gun violence and related deaths.
Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel, who was also killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, additionally shared a statement emphasizing the role of semi-automatic weapons used by mass shooters, the urgent need for gun safety laws, and the gaps in protection in Maine:
“Once again, a shooter chose semi-automatic rifles, the preferred weapon of mass shooters, to take the lives of innocent family members, friends, and loved ones merely going about their day. Maine lacks several crucial gun safety laws, including regulations on large capacity, semi-automatic weapons, expanded background checks, and strong temporary transfer laws that enable law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals deemed dangerous. The events in Lewiston emphasize the necessity of closing these gaps through the implementation and strengthening of public policies aimed at preventing gun violence.”
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579