Good afternoon Senator Collins. I am a US citizen and was born and raised in Maine. I, like most of the US, am very concerned about mass shootings and guns, particularly the most recent (and worst) instance in Orlando.
To get to the point (you must be receiving a ton of emails and calls), I must urge you to advocate a national ban on assault rifles. Assault rifles are meant for one use: War. Killing humans. Mateen was able to buy an assault rifle 2 weeks before Orlando, even though he was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for hate-speech in the workplace.
I’m grieving so much for the lost lives, and think “what will it take? What will it take to stop this horribleness from happening?” Every time I see the President or governors come out and condemn mass killings, I am reminded more and more every day of how empty a gesture it is. It accomplishes nothing in terms of reform. It’s token.
Reform would be 1) entirely banning the sale of assault rifles to civilians, with no exceptions; 2) stopping profiling Muslims. Did anyone profile white men when James Holmes shot and killed 12 people in a theater in Aurora CO? Or when Dylan Roof murdered (allegedly, at this legal point) 9 people in a church in Charleston SC? White men commit more mass atrocities than any other demographic, but they aren’t profiled because they are the privileged color/sex in this country.
Gun control actually does work. There is a Washington Post article from 2012 that I’m hoping to post here (dunno if links get removed on this form) that provides facts from the last several decades about gun violence and mass killings; if you do not have time to view the whole article, it has 12 bullet points, backed up by graphs and facts by entities such as Mother Jones and sociologists from Duke and Harvard Universities. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/
The NRA has blatantly shown that they will in no way ever advocate for gun controls, fearing one day a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. That is *not* what is at stake here, but given their gun-lobby backers it is unsurprising they have the stance of “guns, guns all the time”.
This stance carries over to fearful members and other citizens, who panicked and went out and bought *more* guns after Orlando, resulting in stock prices of two key gun manufacturers to rise significantly (source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/13/smith-wesson-sturm-ruger-stock-prices-rise-after-orlando-massacre.html).
If you have no time to read all this, I understand. But for the reasons I’ve described, profiling Muslims is not the answer, and banning assault rifles from the public *must* be the paramount (but by no means the only) step toward decreasing mass killings.
Thank you for your time.