Following The Maine Shooting, Biden Wonders “Who The Hell Needs” High Capacity Assault Weapons

On October 25, a gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle with an extended magazine murdered 18 people in Lewiston, Maine. Two days later, as hundreds of officials continued to search for the suspect, Biden once again criticized the use of such weapons.

The Maine Shooting

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The gunman, a 40-year-old man called Robert Card, shot dozens of people, killing 18 and injuring 13. The shooting occurred in Lewiston, the second most populous city in Maine. The gunman attacked two locations: a bowling alley hosting a youth event and then a restaurant.

Victims were aged 14 to 76

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The gunman was a former Army reservist. He had a history of hearing voices and erratic behavior. Those murdered by the gunman ranged from 14 to 76 years of age. They included a child bowling with his father, multiple people who were deaf, and parents of young children.

Uncertainty and fear

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As information trickled in about the attack—and victims—friends and family were left waiting for news. “It was awful to see the families sitting there,” said Leroy Walker Sr., the father of Joseph “Joey” Walker, a manager at the restaurant targeted by the gunman. “Just like me, they knew nothing.”

Heroic deeds

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Leroy Walker was told that his son picked up a knife and attempted to confront the gunman. In a way, Walker told NBC, knowing that made his anguish all the worse.

A disturbing and deadly trend

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This shooting is part of a surge in gun violence in the US. The number of mass shootings has sharply risen in recent years, going from around 273 events in 2014 to almost 700 in 2021.

What makes a mass shooting

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The exact definition of a mass shooting is debated, but a common definition is a shooting event in which four or more people are killed or injured. Of course, the pain and damage of any mass shooting also extends far beyond those immediately affected.

Biden makes a statement

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The day after the shooting, Biden pushed Republicans to collaborate with Democrats to enact gun reform. Measures he advocated for included banning assault weapons, forbidding high-capacity magazines, and enacting universal background checks.

Politicians owe a debt to the dead and their survivors

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“This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars—physical and mental—of this latest attack,” Biden said.

Republican resistance

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Gun reform has become one of the most divisive issues in American politics. Many on the right have repeatedly doubled down on the supposed right of Americans to bear arms without significant rules or regulations.

People with guns kill people

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Republicans opposing gun reform also argue that weapons themselves aren’t the problem. They instead blame factors like poor access to mental health—though critics respond by pointing out Republican resistance to solutions to those problems, too.

Gun violence is undoubtedly on the rise

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Regardless of opinions, data clearly shows that gun violence is rising in the US. Mass shootings make up a small percentage of deaths by firearms, but their impact on the national psyche is massive.

Biden gets mad

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On Friday, as hundreds of officers were still searching for the gunman, Biden spoke at a campaign fundraiser. Though he didn’t explicitly refer to the shooting, he asserted that it was “outrageous what’s happening.”

Who needs assault weapons?

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“Who the hell needs an assault weapon,” Biden asked, “that can hold, in some cases, up to 100 rounds?” 

The gunman is found, but the fight continues

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Later that evening, the gunman’s body was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Nervous locals let out held breaths. But without significant change—which, for Biden, comes in the form of repeated pleas for Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons—this will not be the last mass shooting in the US.

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