Washington, DC–Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve on last night’s mass shootings in Lewiston, ME.

“Last night’s tragic mass shootings in Lewiston are a reminder of the serious consequences resulting from the easy availability of military-style assault weapons and insufficient gun safety laws in our country. While we don’t know yet exactly how many people were killed and wounded, we know the numbers are high and unacceptable. This shouldn’t be happening in America, but it is every day. No community is immune.

“We understand that these shootings may also be a result of the inadequacies of our mental health system. Once again, we are seeing how this failed system has put innocent lives on the line.

“America’s mayors stand with Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline, Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, and the residents of Lewiston, and all of Androscoggin County as they shelter in place awaiting news about the victims, praying that they are not family members or friends. We applaud the bravery of the police officers who have come from across Maine and the region as well as their federal partners to help track down the shooter. And we praise the regional medical professionals’ response to the needs of the many people who were wounded.

“While some say this isn’t the time to call for stronger gun laws, we believe this is exactly the time to do so. America’s mayors once again urge Congress to enact an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. We also urge Congress to take stronger action to ensure that communities have the resources necessary to treat people suffering from severe mental illness. This is the 565th mass shooting this year. What will it take, how many will have to die for Congress to act?”