Gov. Janet Mills announced legislation Wednesday to strengthen gun laws and mental health services in the wake of the mass shootings in Lewiston that took the lives of 18 people in October.

The legislation formalizes many of the ideas she expressed in her State of the State address last month, including expanding gun background checks to advertised private sales and increasing the number of crisis receiving centers to provide help more quickly to those with mental health needs.

In addition, it proposes to allow law enforcement to seek a protective custody warrant from a judge if they believe a person with weapons is a risk to themselves or others. As it is now, the state’s yellow flag law requires police to take someone into custody before a mental health evaluation and a court order to remove weapons.

Police say current state law made it difficult for them to perform a welfare check in September on Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin, the man who committed the mass shootings just a month later.  

A deputy with the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office told a panel investigating the shootings that he was unable to check on Card because he would not answer the door to his home or his cellphone, preventing him from taking him into custody.

Mills is also proposing to require those who advertise a firearm for sale to conduct a federal background check before selling the weapon. She also wants to strengthen Maine law so it would be a felony to sell a weapon to someone who is prohibited from having one.

Also, Mills proposes to establish an Injury and Violence Prevention Program at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to bring together data about violence related to injuries and deaths. Currently, that information is kept in separate files, making it difficult to track patterns, according to the governor’s office.

These initiatives are in addition to ideas Mills put in the supplemental budget that’s now under consideration by lawmakers, including $2.8 million for mobile crisis teams, $200,000 to promote safe firearm storage, $5.5 million for more state troopers, and additional funding for mental health assessments for those being evaluated for their risk of owning firearms.

In response to the governor’s announcement on Wednesday, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition said in a statement that while it continues to have concerns about the state’s yellow flag law, it is grateful to Mills for moving forward with legislation.

“It is urgent that Maine reform its lax gun safety laws,” Nacole Palmer, executive director of the coalition, said. “We know that gun violence is preventable, and this legislation is a vital first step.”

The bill, LD 2224, is sponsored by the top Democrats in the Maine House and Senate.

In a statement, Mills said that violence is not “a simple problem” that’s easily fixed by simple solutions.

“The proposals in this bill are not extreme or unusual, or a cookie cutter version of another state’s laws,” she said. “They are practical, common-sense measures that are Maine-made and true to our culture and our longstanding traditions while meeting today’s needs. They represent meaningful progress, without trampling on anybody’s rights, and they will better protect public safety.”