Maine Lawmakers, Residents Urge Kittery Trading Post to End Sales of Assault-Style Weapons

In the fiery debate over so-called "assault-style weapons," an iconic New England sports shop is still selling them and staying silent.

The Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine sells a variety of firearms considered to be "assault-style" and high capacity magazines.

After the Parkland school shooting, a group of residents started an online petition, asking the retailer to take them off the shelves. A counter petition supporting the store also garnered thousands of signatures. The store never responded.

Months later, several Democratic lawmakers from Maine and New Hampshire said they have tried to have a dialogue with the store management, but haven't heard back.

"All I really wanted to do was talk," said Rep. Deane Rykerson, D-Kittery. "I'm really just asking them to do something. They can take a stance like their competitors — Dick's, L.L. Bean, or Walmart — and say yes, 'we do have a problem, and maybe there's something we can do about it.'"

Stores like Dick's, L.L. Bean, and Walmart responded to the Parkland school shooting by refusing to sell certain semi-automatic weapons or raising the age to buy firearms to 21.

"People in the community want to do something, and they're not waiting for legislative action," said Rykerson.


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Frustrated by a lack of response from the store, three Maine lawmakers and eight New Hampshire lawmakers, all Democrats, wrote a letter to the C.E.O.

"Despite the huge outpouring of community support to encourage action on gun violence directed at KTP, the KTP management appears unresponsive," the letter states.

"We respectfully ask you to break your silence and respond to the outpouring of community support for common-sense actions against gun violence in our communities and our country."

Rykerson said some supporters have suggested they picket the Kittery Trading Post or call for a boycott, but he hoped to have a dialogue with the store before taking those kinds of steps. So far, they have not heard back.

"To be attacking them is very misplaced," said Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred. She, and nine other Maine House Republicans issued their own letter to the Kittery Trading Post Thursday.

"We write to you in support of your family's iconic Maine business and all of the wonderful products it sells," the Republican letter states. "For 80 years, Kittery Trading Post has helped Mainers exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms with a high-quality selection of firearms, exceptional customer service, and superb gun safety programs."

Rep. Sampson said it the Democratic letter was "unnecessary targeting" and a "political maneuver."

A spokesperson for the Kittery Trading Post declined to comment Thursday.

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