New York Democrats decry Maine mass shooting rampage: ‘Congress must act’

New York Democrats decried a gunman’s bloody Wednesday night rampage in southern Maine and called for federal action, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of Brooklyn ordering flags to be flown at half-mast at the U.S. Capitol.

“We must do everything we can to stop the epidemic of gun violence in our country,” Schumer said Thursday morning on social media, echoing calls from around the party.

As news of the shooting was still emerging Wednesday night, Mayor Adams declared on social media: “We don’t have to live like this, and we definitely don’t have to die like this.”

“Tonight, we must do more than mourn,” Adams added. “We must resolve to take real action.”

The expressions of urgency have become a familiar Democratic echo after mass shootings like the one that devastated Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday. But they have typically met with paralysis in Washington, where gun safety measures have foundered time after time.

Last year, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed America’s most significant gun control law in three decades, which enhanced background checks for buyers between the ages of 18 and 21. But Biden and many Democrats crave a revival of the national assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

With Republicans now in control of the House, even modest gun safety measures may be out of the question. The passage of last year’s background checks law came with scattered GOP support after horrifying mass shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, who leads the Democratic minority in the House, said he was praying for the victims of the latest shooting.

“Congress must act to combat the gun violence epidemic and stop the carnage,” he wrote on social media early on Thursday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an Albany Democrat, wrote that Americans “have to put an end to this senseless violence.”

In Maine on Wednesday, a gunman terrorized multiple locations, killing at least 18 people and wounding at least 13, said Gov. Janet Mills at a news conference Thursday. Early reports said the gunman had killed at least 22 people.

On Thursday, a sprawling manhunt was underway for a person of interest, Robert Card, 40, who was believed to be armed and dangerous.

Gov. Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, said on social media that her “heart breaks for the people of Lewiston,” describing them as the “last community mourning lives lost to gun violence.”

“Weapons of war have no place on America’s streets,” Hochul added. “How many more gun deaths must we suffer before this country comes to its senses?”