Lawmakers in 2 states ask iconic sporting goods retailer to curb gun policies

Founded in 1938, Kittery Trading Post is well-known in New England and sells everything from guns to kayaks both locally and online. It's not the kayaks some are arguing over. (Photo: KTP)

Founded in 1938, Kittery Trading Post is well-known in New England and sells everything from guns to kayaks both locally and online. It’s not the kayaks some are arguing over. (Photo: KTP)

A group of Democrats in Maine and New Hampshire want Kittery Trading Post to stop selling “assault-style” rifles and eliminate gun sales to those under age 21.

Six New Hampshire state lawmakers penned a letter to the historic retailer, whose 90,000 sq. ft. flagship store is in Kittery, Maine, near the shared border between the two New England states. In it, they ask KTP to emulate examples set earlier this year by Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, who adopted similar changes to their own gun sales procedures. The New Hampshire group was joined by three corresponding Democrats in the Maine House who echoed their message in a rally at Kittery’s town hall on Monday.

“When the issues surrounding gun violence in the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida erupted, and students were asking for action so they could feel safe, we naturally assumed that a business such as the Kittery Trading Post (KTP) would respond and take meaningful action,” said the letter, asking that the retailer halt sales of some types of semi-auto firearms and raise the minimum age for gun sales. “However, despite the huge outpouring of community support to encourage action on gun violence directed at KTP, the KTP management appears unresponsive.”

The retailer is the subject of a Change.org petition started days after the Parkland, Florida shooting that has amassed over 10,000 signatures of those urging the store to “stop the sale of assault-style firearms & high capacity magazines,” over the threat of a boycott.

Established in 1938, the family-owned retailer sells both new and used guns locally and online via Gunbroker, with some 1,500 auctions listed as of Tuesday, many for semi-autos such as AR-15 variants. KTP, long a fixture in southern Maine, was named one of the best men’s stores in the country by Esquire Magazine in 2011, saying it was “one of the few stores that stood the test of time.”

Elsewhere in Maine, outdoor retailer L.L.Bean announced in March they would follow the lead set by Dicks, Walmart, and others in adjusting their gun sales policies by saying that it will no longer allow those under the age of 21 to buy guns or ammunition from their store in Freeport, the only one that carries firearms.

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