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VIDEO: Pingree Presses Army Official on Restricting Reservists with Mental Health Diagnosis from Possessing Firearms

In today’s Appropriations Committee hearing, Maine 1st District Congresswoman Cited Findings in a New Report on the October 2023 Mass Shooting in Lewiston

In light of a new Interim Commission Report on last October’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today pushed Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer on what guardrails are in place to prevent Army reservists, like the shooter Robert Card, from possessing a firearm when experiencing a mental health crisis, and what protocols exist to ensure local law enforcement are informed when a reservist’s access to military weapons and ammunition are restricted.  Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer testified in a hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

“When a servicemember is grappling with mental illness, as the Lewiston shooter clearly was, what does the military do to ensure civilian law enforcement is aware that this person should not be in the possession of a firearm?” Pingree asked Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer.

Weimer expressed his condolences to the Lewiston community and said, “Bottom-line, in the active component, it is a much simpler solution. It just is. In the spirit of being very candid with you, chain of command has a very deliberate battle rhythm. In our reserve component, it’s a little different, especially with the soldiers are not currently on Title 10 orders or Title 31 orders – Title 10 working for the federal government, Title 32 working for the Governor at that time. It gets a little grey there. I will say this though, every chain of command usually has a mechanism to still look after their soldiers. First and foremost, they’re still a soldier.”


Pingree also asked, “Do reserve and national guard commanders have the authority to confiscate a soldier’s firearms?”

Weiner said he needed to circle back to the committee with more information to answer that line of Pingree’s questioning. 

On October 25, 2023, Army Reservist Robert Card went on a shooting spree in Lewiston, killing 18 people and injuring 13 more. Last week, the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston published its Interim Report. The report documented how Card’s chain of command was notified on multiple occasions of significant mental health concerns. An evaluation explicitly recommended that the commanding officer take measures to safely remove all firearms and weapons from the shooter’s home. However, that information was never shared with the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office. 

On November 2, 2023, Maine U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King requested the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Army conduct an administrative review of the Lewiston Shooting. On December 8, 2023, the Maine delegation sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Donna W. Martin, the Army’s inspector general, requesting a comprehensive investigation in addition to an ongoing administrative review. The Army has yet to publish its findings.

The Appropriations hearing was focused on the quality of life for enlisted soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and their families. Witnesses included Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer; Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, John F. Bentivenga; Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, David A. Flosi; Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James M. Honea; and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlos A. Ruiz.


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