PORTLAND, Maine — Moms with children, members of gun safety groups, politicians and those affected by gun violence gathered in Congress Square Park Sunday afternoon to call for strong federal legislation to increase gun safety.
Organized by the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the rally drew more than 100 people just after 1 p.m.
Nacole Palmer of Moms Demand Action told the crowd to urge Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King, to return from recess and pass a strong federal Red Flag bill and legislation that would require background checks on all gun sales.
Judi Richardson, whose 25-year-old daughter, Darien Richardson, died after she was shot during a 2010 home invasion in Portland, also spoke to those gathered.
Richardson said police have been unable to solve her daughter's murder because background checks were not required for whoever purchased the gun that killed Darien.
"Maine is a good source of guns for people who can't get them in states who don't have the background checks," she said.
"We know it's preventable and why can't we recognize that and do something?" Richardson said of gun violence.
Speaker of the Maine House Sara Gideon said she is scared for her children's safety and knows they also feel unsafe.
"There has been this false choice presented, both in our state and in our country, that somehow the second amendment rights of an individual are incompatible with also keeping people safe from gun violence, and I totally reject that idea," said Gideon, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Collins. "I think that all of us here today ... can see that there are ways that we as lawmakers, both at the state level but also most especially on the federal level, can actually create legislation that will keep people safe from gun violence."
Organizations including Students Demand Action, March For Our Lives Maine and the Maine Gun Safety Coalition also participated in the rally.