Maine Gubernatorial Candidate Recommends Fire Extinguishers For Fighting School Shooters

Mar 7, 2018

A Republican candidate for Maine governor is catching heat for his unique solution for deadly school shootings.

Shawn Moody of Gorham was asked on WVOM Monday about gun control measures. Instead of floating more conventional proposals such as beefing up school security, he offered what he described as a common-sense solution.

“There are fire extinguishers, dry chemical fire extinguishers, in every commercial building, school, and almost within 100 feet of wherever you are, and a fire extinguisher can be a great deterrent if somebody gets out of control or if anything happens,” he said. “A teacher, anybody could break that glass, set the alarm off, grab that dry chemical fire extinguisher and spray it towards somebody, and I’ll tell you right now that could put them to their knees.”

Moody was roundly criticized by Democrats and teased by fellow Republicans. And his remarks were picked up by the national press.

“A fire extinguisher is an effective tool for stopping a small fire – not for stopping a hail of deadly bullets sprayed out of an assault weapon,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said in a press release Tuesday. “Moody’s comments demonstrate just how deeply out-of-touch he is with the problem of gun violence in schools and that he’s not at all prepared to think through the issue in a thoughtful way, let alone to offer serious policy proposals to protect Maine students.”

In a statement, Democratic opponent Adam Cote of Sanford called Moody’s comments unhelpful.

“As someone who knows weapons very well from three combat tours and a lifetime hunting in Maine — and much more importantly, as the parent of five kids who are now participating in active shooter drills at school — we need serious leaders offering thoughtful ideas on how to keep all of our kids safe,” he said.

Brent Littlefield, an advisor to Moody and Gov. Paul LePage, tried to defend his client by tweeting that the fire extinguisher defense is promoted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In a video, the L.A. sheriffs office, and other law enforcement and emergency agencies, promotes the use of a fire extinguisher as a last-ditch escape defense — not as a proactive measure or deterrent. 

This story was originally published March 6, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. ET.