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Kittery Business at Center of Gun Violence Prevention Debate

A nationwide move to ban magazine-fed assault rifles from sporting goods stores has ignited a controversy over gun sales at the Kittery Trading Post. (TripAdvisor)
A nationwide move to ban magazine-fed assault rifles from sporting goods stores has ignited a controversy over gun sales at the Kittery Trading Post. (TripAdvisor)
July 9, 2018

KITTERY, Maine – After the Parkland, Fla. school massacre, some sports retailers across the country – Dick's Sporting Goods, L.L. Bean and Walmart – stopped selling so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

And some Democratic lawmakers in Maine would like to see the same steps from the Kittery Trading Post in the town of Kittery.

Last week, the Democrats sent a letter asking the retailer to voluntarily stop selling some types of guns, and not sell to buyers under 21 years old – or risk a boycott.

But the Democrats are getting some Republican pushback.

State Sen. Ron Collins accuses the Democrats of harassing a local business.

"I don't understand why they would try to jeopardize a company in southern Maine, who's been a great neighbor to everybody in that area of southern Maine, by trying to suggest a boycott,” Collins states. “I think that's just not necessary."

A Maine GOP delegation penned an open letter in support of gun sales, including a mention of the gun safety classes Kittery Trading Post also holds.

Owners of the sporting goods store haven't weighed in yet on calls to change their policies.

Collins insists that if legislators want gun sale laws changed, they should go through proper channels in Washington. He sees the Democrats' stance as anti-business.

"When they threaten to boycott a business, that takes away from the livelihood of that business and the employees who work there, possibly their salaries,” he stresses. “I think it's unjust and unfair. They've done nothing wrong."

But with gun violence reform legislation stalled in Congress, York County Democrats say they want local change.

Their view is that there's no reason to sell firearms that can shoot 100 rounds a minute, and they plan to keep the pressure up.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - ME