A manhunt is underway after a suspect opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine on Wednesday.
At least 18 people died and 13 were injured in the shootings, Maine Gov. Janet Mills said.
Maine does not require background checks on all gun sales or permits to carry guns, and it has a longrunning culture of sport shooting and hunting.
Maine — the site of a deadly mass shooting on Wednesday — has among the most relaxed gun laws of any state.
A massive manhunt is still underway after a gunman opened fire in a bowling alley and a bar in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday evening, killing 18 people.
Maine has a longstanding culture of hunting and sport shooting, and more than half the households in the state have firearms, the Boston University School of Public Health found in 2022.
The northeast state doesn't require a permit to carry firearms and allows both open carry and concealed carry. It also doesn't require background checks on private gun sales and doesn't ban high-capacity magazines. Gun sales from dealers who have a Federal Firearms License require background checks.
Everytown for Gun Safety ranked the state 25th in the country on the strength of gun control measures, noting that while 89% of gun deaths in the state result from suicide, Maine "lacks most basic laws that would help reduce suicide, including background checks for all gun sales, an Extreme Risk law, and waiting periods."
Extreme risk laws — also known as red flag laws — would prevent people in crisis from harming themselves or others by letting judges bar their access to firearms. According to Everytown, the state has laws requiring that "firearms be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition in certain circumstances."
Several measures trying to tighten gun control laws in the state have failed in recent years, including proposals to require background checks for gun sales, ban bump stocks, and mandate a 72-hour waiting period to buy a gun.
Correction: October 30, 2023 — An earlier version of this story got information about Maine's background check requirements wrong. Background checks are required for sales involving dealers who have a Federal Firearms License, and this story previously said the state doesn't require background checks on gun sales.
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