Letter: No more time for silence on gun violence

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To Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Gov. Paul LePage, Sen. Michael Thibodeau, and Rep. Mark Ives:

We have seen profound tragedy in Charleston, Roseburg, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Blacksburg, and Aurora, just to name a few. You are our leaders. I urge you to do everything in your power to pass common-sense gun-control laws, including universal background checks, a ban of high-capacity rapid-fire weapons by individuals, and a ban of the sale and possession of large ammunition magazines by individuals. In addition, we need more resources for mental-health care. It is sorely lacking in our communities in Maine.

I am an ordained minister and have served United Church of Christ (Congregational) churches in Wilton, Winslow, Kennebunk, and Phippsburg. I am part of the Maine Conference UCC, made up of 160 Maine churches, which supported an “Urgent Call to Prevent Gun Violence” after the tragedy at Sandy Hook. And yet Congress and our Maine leaders have done nothing.

I write to you as a mother whose daughter was in first grade when the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened.

I write to you as a mother who knows the grief of losing a son.

If the trajectory continues, we will have a mass-shooting gun-violence tragedy in Maine.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I urge you not to be silent. I urge you to be courageous and once and for all, do something.

The Rev. Allison C. G. Smith