Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who is among a small number of House Democrats to oppose several gun safety measures advanced by his party, has had a change of heart.

On Thursday, he announced his support for an assault weapons ban following a shooting in his hometown of Lewiston that resulted in at least 18 deaths and 13 injuries.

Previously, Golden had been against outlawing lethal war weapons, but he has now acknowledged his mistake and urged Congress to ban assault rifles.

Golden is a former Marine who was elected in 2018 under ranked-choice voting, defeating the Republican incumbent in the largely rural second congressional district, which had twice supported Donald Trump for president.

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Despite his party’s stances on several issues, Golden has broken ranks on matters such as gun control.

Although Golden supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first federal gun safety legislation in decades, he has opposed other Democratic gun bills, including an assault-style weapons ban passed by the House in 2022.

In defense of his votes against such measures, Golden stated that all firearms need to be kept out of the hands of felons and those who pose a risk to themselves or others. However, in the wake of the recent mass shooting in his district, Golden expressed urgency in restricting assault weapons. He is now also willing to work with his colleagues on the issue.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) praised Golden for his change of heart but lamented that it took a tragedy for him to see the need for such measures.

“I’m glad Rep. Golden has made this decision, but why does it have to happen over and over and over again, to have these conversions?” he asked.

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