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Republicans criticize Jared Golden for changing position on assault weapons

Republican critics lash out at Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden for changing his position on a proposed assault weapons ban after 19 people were killed by a gunman in Lewiston.

With a subscription to the Press Herald, you have the ability to gift five articles per month. Recently, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden faced criticism from Republican critics for changing his stance on an assault weapons ban following a tragic shooting in Lewiston. Golden, who resides in Lewiston, admitted during a press conference at City Hall that he had been wrong to oppose the ban and expressed his willingness to work with colleagues to pass it before his time in Congress comes to an end.

The term "assault weapons" or "assault rifles" is often used to describe certain semi-automatic rifles commonly used by military personnel, such as the AK-47. However, there is ongoing debate about whether rifles like the AR-15 should be classified as assault weapons. While many shooting sports enthusiasts and advocates of the Second Amendment do not consider them as such, the issue has become a national topic of discussion.

Two state representatives who are competing in a Republican primary to challenge Golden in Maine's closely divided 2nd Congressional District swiftly criticized the lawmaker for his change in position. State Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips accused Golden of using the tragedy to advance a liberal political agenda and emphasized that now is not the time for politics. State Rep. Austin Theriault of Fort Kent expressed frustration and disappointment with Golden and President Joe Biden for attempting to score political points during a time of tragedy.

Republicans argued that instead of focusing on limiting access to assault weapons like the one used in the shootings, political leaders should prioritize improving the nation's mental health system. Theriault stressed the need for significant investment in mental health care and access, calling for the largest-ever investment of its kind in the country.

The other Republican candidate, Robert Cross of Dedham, took a more compassionate approach and offered prayers for the victims, their families, law enforcement, and local officials. He acknowledged that the situation in Lewiston is still unfolding and expressed unity for the state of Maine.

Golden was unavailable for comment on Friday. During his press conference, he stated that he had consistently opposed efforts to ban what he referred to as "deadly weapons of war," including the assault rifle used in the mass shooting in Lewiston. However, he surprised many by taking responsibility for this stance and calling on Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the perpetrator in his hometown.

In conclusion, Golden's change in position on the assault weapons ban has sparked controversy and criticism from Republican opponents. The debate over the classification of certain rifles as assault weapons continues, while Republicans argue for a focus on improving the mental health system. Meanwhile, Robert Cross offers prayers and unity for the community of Lewiston. Golden's unexpected shift in stance has left constituents and the political world surprised, emphasizing the need for action on this issue.

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