Shawn Moody draws attention for saying a fire extinguisher could fend off gunmen


AUGUSTA — A Republican candidate for governor in Maine was drawing national media attention Tuesday for telling a Maine radio show this week that public school staff could use fire extinguishers to disable a would-be school shooter.

Shawn Moody, of Gorham, the founder of Moody’s Collision Centers, made the comments to Bangor-based WVOM radio station host Ric Tyler on Monday.

“This is a common-sense thing I want everybody to hear,” Moody said. “When you think about little common-sense things, practical things, we could do right now, there are fire extinguishers, dry chemical fire extinguishers, in every commercial building, school, and almost within 100 feet of wherever you are, and a fire extinguisher can be a great deterrent if somebody gets out of control or if anything happens, a teacher, anybody could break that glass, set the alarm off, grab that dry chemical fire extinguisher and spray it towards somebody and I’ll tell you right now that could put them to their knees.”

The Washington, D.C.-based online magazine The Hill picked up on Moody’s comments on Tuesday followed by a tweet by Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Todd tweeted, with a link to The Hill report, “A good guy with a fire extinguisher?”

Moody and other candidates for the 2018 governor’s race in Maine had been asked a series of five questions by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 20 including:

1. Would you support an assault weapons ban – with assault weapon being defined as a semi-automatic weapon that has or can be altered to have a clip with 30 rounds or more?


2. Would you support a ban on clips exceeding 10 rounds in capacity?

3. Would you support a ban on so-called “bump-stock” devices?

4. Do or would you support L.D. 1761. This bill would lift the ban on firearms on public school property in Maine provided the weapon is unloaded and either locked in a vehicle gun rack or case. The law would also require the owner of the vehicle and firearm to remain in the vehicle during the visit to school grounds. Current Maine law prohibits firearms on public school grounds with exceptions for law enforcement.

5. Do you support requiring an NIC’s background check for all gun sales in Maine, including private sales between individuals?

The request for a response from Moody also invited him to discuss the matter directly with a reporter at the newspaper but Moody’s campaign declined.

Most candidates, in the Feb. 25 report, which appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram, either answered the questions directly with yes-or-no answers or provided a brief explanation for each answer.

Moody instead had his campaign spokeswoman, Lauren LePage, issue a statement on his behalf noting his support for the 2nd Amendment and the need for additional school resources officers.

“As governor, Shawn will always support our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights. There are thousands and thousands of peaceful gun owners in Maine, and Maine has a long history of responsible firearms ownership and safety. Shawn advocates for a Community Resource Officer in all of our schools and encourages everyone if they see something, say something. That’s action we can take right now regarding the behavioral issues leading up to violence in our schools and communities,” LePage wrote in a message to the newspaper.

In followup questions, Moody and his campaign staff declined to answer the specific questions but continued to insist they had.

Moody’s fire extinguisher comments, however, had Republican lawmakers at the State House on Tuesday sharing different online memes, including one of a woman putting out a kitchen fire with a fire extinguisher that was entitled “Shawn Moody’s AR-15 defense system.” Another featured a photo of several different types of dry chemical fire extinguishers and was titled “Shawn Moody’s arsenal.”

Moody’s comment also drew a sharp rebuke from the Maine Democratic Party, which has made a point of countering Moody’s campaign on close to a daily basis.

“A fire extinguisher is an effective tool for stopping a small fire – not for stopping a hail of deadly bullets sprayed out of an assault weapon,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a prepared statement. “This is not at all the type of serious leadership that Mainers are looking for in their next governor. Moody’s comments demonstrate just how deeply out-of-touch he is with the problem of gun violence in schools and that he’s not at all prepared to think through the issue in a thoughtful way, let alone to offer serious policy proposals to protect Maine students.”

Brent Littlefield, a political consultant who works for Moody, pushed back on Twitter on Tuesday, noting that safety experts have, in fact, advised a fire extinguisher may be used to thwart an active shooter. He shared a link to a YouTube video produced by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office that depicts the use of a fire extinguisher in a dramatization of a workplace shooting.

“Instead of Democrat activists and their friends attacking @Moody4Gov, maybe they should do a bit of research first,” Littlefield tweeted with the link to the video.

Littlefield also serves as a consultant to Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who appointed Moody to serve on the board of trustees for both the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System. Moody previously ran for governor in 2010 as an independent and joined the Maine Republican Party last October, just six weeks before he announced he would run as a Republican for governor.

A message left for Moody on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

This story will be updated.

Shawn Moody, the businessman who made his name in politics as an independent candidate for governor in 2010, is now a Republican. (Portland Press Herald photo)

  • FrankE

    This is no more outrageous than Trump facing the gunman unarmed. Fantasyland, it’s all fantasy land. They have no idea what a situation like that does to a person mentally. I will agree, a chemical extinguisher will suck the wind right out of someone, but your going to be shot six times by the time you get it close enough for it to be effective.

  • leaningRight

    if you stop the political B.S; He is very correct. The powder comes out at 195 psi. That’s a powerful stream of suffocating powder. Aim that down someone’s throat, you’ll probably render them unable to harm anyone else again……just ‘sayin !

    • Jon Mennealy

      What do you think the shooter is going to do while you are trying to get close enough to spray him/her with any effectiveness? The time when safety experts advocate using a fire extinguisher is when other alternatives are not available (1. Flee, 2. Lock doors/shelter in place, 3. Throw things/attack shooter with whatever is available). An ABC powder extinguisher sprays a distance of about 10-20 feet. You’d have to get pretty close to the shooter with that limitation.
      Another thing Shawn suggests is to break the glass and set off the fire alarm. That is what the Parkland shooter did, in order to get more victims out into the halls to inflict more killing. It may not be such a great idea.

  • mdyer

    How about we just keep the AR-15s out of schools by making them really hard to get?

  • CLibbey

    Good tip, Shawn. If the government takes away the public’s right to have ANY guns, we have to make a list of those things we can use as effective alternative weapons.

  • Harold

    You could be sprayed by twenty or more bullets while pulling the pin on a fire extinguisher Not much common sense with that

  • MaineCWP

    If that is all a staff member has at their disposal utilizing a fire extinguisher has been recommended for decades. Until Maine allows armed Public-School staff on property that is one of the tools legally available to them.

    I have long advocated for training, arming qualified Public-School staff. The educators we have trained repeatedly return to the range to hone their skills, many at least one a month. Law Enforcement qualifies one maybe two times a year. Recently in CA Law Enforcement discharged their firearms 65 times in 15 seconds all missing the suspect. Think about that, some misguided legislators want to limit us to 10-round magazines or less.

    Avoiding the underlying issues of individual’s mental health is not only misguided the recommended remedy will bear no fruit.

    Gun Violence? I assure you, none of my firearms are violent nor have they ever committed a crime.

    We have had countless numbers of Maine superintendents, principals, teachers and support staff in our NRA Certified courses. In Texas there are over 100 school districts where qualified trained teachers and staff are armed in a concealed manner either on their person or secured in bio-metric safes if the need to defend themselves, innocent students and staff should arise. All coordinated with Law Enforcement. One of the largest deterrents they say is removing Gun Free Zone signs (Soft Targets) with This Property is Protected With Armed Staff.

    Butler County, Ohio, Sheriff Richard K. Jones offered free concealed carry training for 50 teachers and 250 teachers responded within 24 hours.

    For schools that allow armed staff on their property in Maine we offer free NRA Certified Training that will credential them to apply for their Multi-State Maine Concealed Handgun Permit.

    The NRA provides free of charge National School Shield Security Assessors nationwide that will identify weaknesses in public, parochial and private school physical deficiencies intruders view as inviting opportunities.