Sign up for the AllSides Story of the Week Newsletter to receive this blog in your inbox every Thursday.

Last Wednesday, 40-year-old army reservist Robert Card allegedly opened fire at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, killing 18 people before fleeing the scene.

After a two-day manhunt, Card was found dead from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Following the shooting, more information emerged regarding Card's background. The Associated Press (Lean Left bias) reported that Card "underwent a mental health evaluation in mid-July after he began acting erratically while with his reserve regiment." Additionally, Card was "committed to a mental health facility for two weeks this past summer after 'hearing voices and threats to shoot up' a military base."

In August, a Maine gun store refused to sell Card a silencer for his assault rifle due to his mental health history, in what the New York Post (Lean Right bias) said "possibly saved countless lives."

Could more have been done to prevent the mass shooting? Voices across the political spectrum are questioning the efficacy of existing gun control laws, but are divided on whether additional legislation would have stopped Card from carrying out the attack.

A writer in the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) determined the media and political response to the shooting was rife with "political agendas and dogma" from the gun control lobby. "To keep our family and loved ones safe from violence, we must crack down on criminals, who are the ones who commit crime. Similarly, to reduce the number of mass shootings in America dramatically, we must remove dangerous, threatening people, not guns, from our community before they harm someone."

A writer in Mother Jones (Left bias) wrote, "while no mass shooter, in a basic sense, is a mentally healthy person, most mass shooters have not been diagnosed with clinical mental illness." Citing mental illness as the "primary cause of mass shootings is not only misguided in most cases but also stigmatizing and counterproductive when it comes to reducing the problem. Despite popular myth, mass shooters are not inexplicably crazy people who just 'suddenly snap.' They plan, they justify their intentions, and they prepare to kill and to die. That process involves observable patterns of behavior and can be disrupted."

The Baltimore Sun (Center bias) Editorial Board asked, "When will enough really be enough?" Calling for all states to pass "red-flag" laws, the board argues, "Card owned multiple guns. Here was someone who may have been divorced from reality, whose behavioral problems were not even hidden from those who knew him, who had a military-style assault weapon — often the choice for mass shootings in this country — and authorities in Maine were powerless to do much about it. That needs to change."

A writer for The Dispatch (Lean Right bias) asked, "who could have seen it coming? Everybody." Highlighting the various warning signs exhibited prior to the shooting, the writer states, "If anything is clear from the events preceding the bloodbath in Maine—in which everybody from the military to the police to friends and family and mental health authorities had good reason to intervene and the legal means to do so—it is that this is not, as our friends in the gun control movement insist, mainly a question of more robust retail regulation of sporting goods stores."

A columnist at MSNBC (Left bias) stated that after the shooting, "daily sales at a Maine gun store were some 500% over expectations," according to a store owner that opened his gun shop during the 'shelter-in-place' order. "Who could have predicted that the horrific mass shootings in Maine carried out by a man with an assault-style rifle would have prompted a run on local gun stores? At this point, just about anybody could have, if they’ve paid attention since 2020, when gun sales hit an all-time high."

The debate will continue.

Top words about the Maine shooting used more on each side of the media.
Analysis from Partisan Playground; Media Bias Ratings from AllSides

More from AllSides

  • Israel-Hamas War: We're tracking media coverage and flagging potential misinformation emerging from the conflict.
  • Opinion from the Center: "Such is the geriatric nature of American politics that the two most recent newcomers to the national political landscape, both in their early 50s, are widely dismissed as youthful interlopers."
  • Should Assault Weapons Be Banned? We broke down the dominant perspectives, stances, and arguments for and against assault weapons bans in our most recent AllStances™.
  • What's on Your Ballot? Here are the races and issues we’re watching this November.

More from the Right

Why Not Enforce Existing Laws Rather Than Push for New Gun Control?
Townhall (opinion)

"Someone intent on violence may not even need a gun to inflict mass carnage. Are we going to also take away their cars? Gun control advocates find it much easier to conjure up new laws without protections than to fine-tune laws already on the books. They find that times of national grieving present an opportunity to push new measures through Congress."

More from the Center

Maine Shooting Timeline: How Manhunt Unfolded as Robert Card Found Dead

"Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said Card was found at 7:45 p.m. near the Androscoggin River, about 8 miles southeast of where the second shooting took place. The exact location where his body was found has not been released by law-enforcement officials."

More from the Left

America’s unique, enduring gun problem, explained
Vox (opinion)

"While the majority of Americans support more gun control restrictions, including universal background checks, a vocal Republican minority unequivocally opposes such laws — and is willing to put pressure on GOP lawmakers to do the same. Alongside the NRA, and a well-funded gun lobby, this contingent of voters sees gun control as a deciding issue, and one that could warrant a primary challenge for a lawmaker who votes for it."

See more big stories from the past week.