How the 2024 candidates reacted to Maine shooting

After another tragic mass shooting occurred in the US on Wednesday, 2024 presidential candidates quickly responded to the incident offering their thoughts, prayers and solutions to America’s growing gun violence issue.

In Lewiston, Maine, a gunman opened fire at a bowling ally and a local restaurant killing 18 people and injuring 13 others.

Residents of the area were being asksed to shelter in place while law enforcement official search for the suspected shooter.

President Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election, sent his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the shooting in a statement from the White House and referred to legislation he has enacted to reduce gun violence.

“While we have made progress on gun safety through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the two dozen executive actions I’ve taken, and the establishment of the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, it’s simply not enough,” Mr Biden said.

He urged Republican lawmakers to “fulfill their duty to protect the American people” by passing bills banning assault weapons, enacting universal background checks among and ending liability immunity for gun manufactuers.

Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson made similar comments – calling for legislation to reduce gun violence. She also said the use of prayer “as a cover” instead of addressing problems was a “mockery of faith.”

Republican frontrunner and former president Donald Trump made a short statement on Truth Social saying, “A terrible situation going on in Maine. At least 22 dead. It just seems to never end for the USA!”

GOP candidate Nikki Haley blamed a majority of mass shootings on mental health crises saying that “80 per cent of our mass shootings are mental health-related.”

“One in three Americans suffers from mental health, if treated they can live a perfectly normal life if not it spirals out,” Ms Haley said calling on the US to enact more mental health resources.

Similarly, Florida governor and 2024 candidate Ron DeSantis suggested mental health could be the catalyst for the shooting saying, “This could be another example of a failure of our nation’s mental health system.”

He offered thoughts and prayers to those involved.

This past year Mr DeSantis loosened gun laws in Florida by enacting a law that allows people to conceal carry a firearm without a permit. Maine also allows for permitless concealed carry.

Other Republican candidates similarly blamed mental health problems for the mass shooting – a tactic often utilised by conservatives to avoid assigning responsibility to guns. Historically, Republicans back the Second Amendment and defend their right to firearm ownership.

Vivek Ramaswamy said the US should “remove these violent, psychiatrically deranged people from their communities and be willing to involuntarily commit them.”

He also suggested a solution could be a revival of mental health institutions and implementing “faith-based approaches” to those suffering from mental health problems rather than using medication.

Doug Burgum called the shooting “devastating” and offered prayers to Maine.

Democratic-turned-Independent candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr asked people to “pause” before using the situation in their “narratives on gun control, mental health, terroism, or anything else.”