Since the tragic mass shooting in Lewiston, all of us Mainers have been forced to face the gun violence crisis that’s been part of our state’s reality for too long.

Lawmakers have introduced and advanced legislation to change this, for which I am grateful.

In Maine, nearly 90% of firearm deaths are firearm suicides. Each one of those deaths is caused because a person in crisis had access to a firearm. Having lost family members to suicide, I feel the impact of a red flag law could be great. Family members of someone in crisis could be able to remove their access, saving their life and preventing the tragic ripple effects of firearm suicide.

Red flag laws can also be used to prevent mass shootings. Real red flag laws are a one-step crisis intervention tool that has been proven to save lives by allowing family members of people in crisis to quickly act when they recognize dangerous warning signs like the ones that preceded the tragedy in Lewiston.

Gun ownership is part of Maine’s culture. Such laws would not take any rights away from responsible gun owners. But we cannot think that being personally responsible is enough to protect our communities and struggling family members.

As we continue to heal, we need our lawmakers to do all they can to prevent another tragedy. They have taken some steps. They can do more.

We can’t just count on responsible gun ownership because not everyone is able or willing to act responsibly.

Jacynthe Jacques, Lewiston

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