Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Sickened Over Mass Shooting in Maine, Reiterates Urgent Call for Reform, Ban on Civilian Use of Weapons of War

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the shooting in Lewiston, Maine, the 565th mass shooting in the United States this year, which claimed at least 18 lives and injured at least 50 others—with counts still being updated:

“Our hearts break for the victims, their families and everyone in the affected Maine communities. This attack on innocent people, many of whom may have been young people socializing at a bar and a bowling alley, is heinous, and now the manhunt for a well-trained suspected shooter who opened fire in multiple crowded locations and remains at large is paralyzing. The knowledge that so many lives have been shattered is devastating; no one should have to live this way. No corner of our country remains safe from the senseless epidemic of gun violence plaguing us. Today, families and communities across Maine are the latest group reeling from a premeditated, horrific attack in their public spaces.

“But the truth remains that these horrors persist because the laws allow them to; as long as civilians have access to weapons of war, gun violence will continue. Until legislators at the state and federal levels take action to pass commonsense gun reform laws, which are supported by most Americans, we can only expect these preventable tragedies to persist. We simply must do better—we must redouble our efforts to ban assault weapons, strengthen background checks, increase the use of red flag laws, expand safe storage provisions and push for limits on high-capacity magazines. People’s lives depend on it.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.