PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage said he may start carrying a gun in response to the Wednesday shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that left five people wounded including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.
“I’m thinking of carrying, yes,” LePage said when asked whether he felt the need to protect himself after the incident.
LePage cast the shooting, which also left a congressional aide, a lobbyist and two Capitol Police officers wounded and the lone gunman dead, as part of escalating national and global tensions that go beyond politics.
The gunman, James Hodgkinson, 66, was killed in a shootout with police and reportedly decried President Donald Trump on Facebook before he opened fire on the Republican team’s practice for a charity baseball game. LePage, a Republican, said he was deeply disheartened by the shooting, especially if it was politically motivated, and hopes that people “come to their senses.”
In this “mad world,” the governor suggested there is safety in carrying a weapon.
“I’m for guns,” he said. “I believe in the Second Amendment very strongly.”
Following the Wednesday shooting, three Republican state lawmakers asked LePage to allow them to carry concealed handguns in the State House.
State law and Maine Department of Public Safety rules bar people other than police from carrying weapons on the State House complex, but in a letter Rep. Richard Cebra of Naples asks the governor to deputize lawmakers who have concealed-handgun permits to allow them to carry.
The entrance to the State House is guarded by armed Capitol Police, and visitors must go through metal detectors to access its floors. The governor has an armed Maine State Police security detail.
BDN staff writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.