Senate Looks to the Army for Answers after Mass Shooting

( – The United States Senate is seeking answers from the US Army in the wake of a mass shooting by a reservist in Maine. Robert Card, 40, unleashed terror at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston on October 25, killing 18 people and injuring 13 others. Now, Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are asking military officials to explain why they neglected to take action on Card’s conduct before the shooting.

Collins and King co-signed a letter to Lieutenant General Donna W. Martin on November 2, pushing for transparency in the matter. The two senators demanded a comprehensive report on the Army’s interactions with Card, particularly surrounding his mental health. The correspondence also seeks to better understand the events leading up to the attack and whether they empowered the reservist to cause so much harm.

The letter also raises a number of important questions about how the Army handles reporting procedures. More specifically, King and Collin want to better understand at what point the military moves forward to flag a servicemember of concern within the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The pair also wants to know when the Army would typically invoke state laws aimed at confiscating firearms from soldiers posing a risk.

According to a report in the Washington Times, the army had at least some knowledge of Card’s instability well in advance. A servicemember familiar with the man allegedly sent a text message to an unidentified person back in September warning that he was about to “snap and do a mass shooting.” Exactly what actions the Army took afterward, if any, remain unclear.

Governor Janet Mills announced the establishment of an independent commission aimed at dissecting Card’s history and scrutinizing how local law enforcement responded to the shooting on November 1. In an official statement, she noted that both the families of the victims and Americans nationwide deserved nothing less than the “complete facts and circumstances.”

Senators Collins and King said that they wholeheartedly endorse this investigative endeavor, noting that the results would likely help prevent future shootings. They are also urging all parties with information on the matter to coordinate their efforts.

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