Lewiston Survivors Consider Looming Election As Gun Control Comes To Forefront

Ben Dyer hasn’t decided how he’ll vote in one of the nation’s most closely watched congressional elections this year, but he knows guns will be on his mind when he casts his ballot. And he’s pretty sure he won’t be the only one.

Dyer, a 47-year-old father of two, was shot five times at Schemengees Bar & Grille in Lewiston last October during the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history. He was rushed to a hospital in a game warden’s pickup truck. He still can’t use his right arm.

In the aftermath of a blood-soaked tragedy in which 18 people were killed and many more were wounded at two separate crime scenes, Dyer has watched his state enact a battery of new gun control laws. It is against that backdrop that he and other voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District will consider the political future of three-term Congressman Jared Golden.

Golden, a Democrat with a history of supporting gun rights in ways that bucked his party’s orthodoxy, has shifted his position since the Lewiston shooting. A former Marine who served in two wars overseas, he now supports an assault weapons ban. He’s unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Maine, but the two Republicans vying to run against him in November have both vowed to defend 2nd Amendment rights more vigorously than he has.

The congressman’s shifting position worries Dyer, who has voted for him before. A gun owner who describes himself as politically independent, Dyer says stricter gun controls hurt law-abiding gun owners.

“The question is, who are you really helping if you make those changes, because it’s not the constituents,” he said. “That platform, AR, every single one of my friends owns a weapon on that platform. They haven’t been used to hurt anybody.”

Read full story at The Associated Press.