Krysta Lilly of The Maine Heritage Policy Center decries out-of-state support for the upcoming universal-background-check referendum in November (letter, June 14). Michael Bloomberg, founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is helping pass the referendum through a related group, Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership.

Lilly claims that there is no homegrown or grassroots support for the referendum. Is she not aware that the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, formerly Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, has been around for 16 years? Does she discount the many supporters of the Brady Campaign in Maine? Does she think that no Mainer ever sent a nickel to Sandy Hook Promise or Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions?

Gun violence is a national problem, demonstrated once again in Orlando. Congress is unable to pass meaningful legislation, bowing to pressure from the gun lobby, so the millions of Americans who want gun safety are doing it themselves, state by state. In the wake of Sandy Hook, Connecticut enacted stiffer laws, including a background check measure, and it now has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country. Last year, the state of Washington passed a strong background check law. More than 80 percent of Mainers, including many members of the NRA, favor background checks for all gun sales (source: SMS Pan-Atlantic Omnibus Poll).

Many Mainers are campaigning for and contributing to the referendum effort. If outside support — hardly unknown in any political campaign — helps carry the day in November, so much the better.

Edward Walworth, Lewiston

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