Facts don't matter in Maine gun control debate, apparently

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

The state of Maine is, as I’ve noted before, kind of unique. It’s a pretty blue state, as most in the Northeast are, but it’s also pretty pro-gun.


It’s not perfect, but nowhere is. Still, the fact that they’re not fans of gun control is important. Considering they’re more rural than New York or New Jersey probably plays a role, to say the least.

Yet there was a pretty strong push for gun control earlier this year. After a mass shooting in a pretty peaceful state, a lot of people felt something had to be done. Finding out the killer was a prohibited person just made it worse, which led to a push for universal background checks.

After all, that would stop other prohibited people from getting guns, right?

Except, it turns out that no gun control regulations on the table would have prevented this guy from getting a firearm.

In a lengthy piece published by this newspaper last Sunday, reporter John Terhune finally answers a question that has been dogging the public for months. Where exactly did alleged mass shooter Joseph Eaton get the guns he used to kill his parents and two family friends at a home in Bowdoin as well as injure a family of three along a highway in Cumberland County?

According to Eaton himself, the first one came from his mother’s purse. Using that firearm along with others that belonged to the victims with whom the Eatons were staying, his rampage in April ended with four people dead before he left the Bowdoin home.

In Eaton’s grand jury indictment filed last week in Sagadahoc County Superior Court, authorities said he stole a total of eight handguns and a .223 caliber rifle from the home, including his mother’s, before he fled the next day and shot up I-295 in Yarmouth. That shooting injured a family of three, including one critically.

In all, two grand juries indicted the 34-year-old on 27 counts including murder, firearm theft and aggravated attempted murder.

For months, some of the more progressive legislative Democrats and anti-gun groups have pointed to Eaton’s case as a rallying call and evidence of Maine’s inadequate gun laws. And the media has let them. With headlines like “Gun control advocates call for change in response to Bowdoin, Yarmouth shooting,” among others, and an editorial by the Bangor Daily News that went for the Second Amendment’s jugular, the drumbeat of more gun control and keeping guns away from prohibited people was constant.


Except, a lack of gun control wasn’t really the problem, now was it?

Over and over again, we keep seeing that those who are inclined to hurt people find a way to get a gun and hurt people. In this case, it was theft. In other cases, they buy guns on the black market. Regardless, bad people who want guns will get guns.

Gun control isn’t going to stop that from happening and we all know it.

But for anti-Second Amendment types, all of that is irrelevant. For them, what happened in this case is more about the opportunity to pass things they already wanted to pass than it is about stopping this particular tragedy from happening again.

That’s what it’s always about.

It’s why they push for assault weapon bans after shootings that involved handguns. It’s why they call for universal background checks after shootings where the killer passed them. It’s why they call for all sorts of things that would do nothing to stop what happened.

It’s not about the awful tragedy, it’s about the chance to push something and the ghoulish desire to leverage anything they can to make it happen.

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