Kittery Trading Post threatens move to NH if Maine gun law enacted 

Gun Rights

KITTERY, Maine — Kittery Trading Post has warned it could relocate its outdoor sports store to the Granite State over a soon-to-be Maine firearm law. Gov. Chris Sununu and leading Republicans in New Hampshire’s state government are recruiting the business to make the move.

In the wake of the mass shooting in Lewiston last year, legislators in Maine proposed a law requiring a 72-hour waiting period on certain gun purchases before firearms can be delivered to buyers. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, signaled her support for the bill and announced April 29 she would let it become law without her signature, paving the way for it to take effect in the summer.

The 86-year-old Kittery Trading Post shared a letter with the nonprofit Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine last week stating the law would have “irreversible consequences” on its third-generation, family-owned gun and outdoor sports company. The business provided a financial impact statement claiming the law would result in an estimated loss of over 40,000 customers annually and a loss of more than $400,000 in Maine sales tax revenue, adding that an “unknown but drastic” ripple effect would occur in its sale of camping and fishing gear, footwear and clothing.

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine has solicited donations and signatures for a legal challenge to the bill.

You Might Like

“The 72-hour waiting period forces law-abiding customers to make two visits over three days to complete a legal firearm sale,” the Kittery Trading Post’s letter to the alliance states. “That means extra time, gas, and sundries which further drives up the cost of the transaction for the consumer. We are a destination store in a tourist state and 55% of our visits are unique each year. We will be vigorously supporting the lawsuit against the State of Maine on this legislation. If this law is implemented, we will be forced to move our entire firearms business to New Hampshire.”

NH Republicans invite Kittery Trading Post to Granite State

Brandon Pratt, spokesperson for Sununu, said he has reached out to ensure Kittery Trading Post ownership knows the business is welcome in New Hampshire.

“The governor spoke to the leadership team at Kittery Trading Post and made it clear that the Live Free or Die state would love to be an expanded home for the Kittery Trading Post,” Pratt said in a prepared statement. “He looks forward to working with them in the future to meet whatever needs they might have!”

New Hampshire House of Representatives Speaker Sherman Packard has made his pitch to the Kittery Trading Post to consider moving over the border, too, in a May 3 letter to the business’ vice president, Fox Keim. He called Mills’ decision to let the three-day waiting period bill become law “unfortunate” for the U.S. Route 1 business. 

“I imagine this has caused unnecessary stress for you and the nearly 350 people your family business employs,” Packard wrote to Keim. “The Kittery Trading Post has, for many generations, been the go-to destination for outdoor and avid recreation enthusiasts, and New Hampshire is one of the best places to pursue those activities. Your business would excel here in the Granite State where we still believe in and will always fight to preserve and defend Second Amendment rights.

“We eagerly encourage you to come to New Hampshire where we consistently rank as the best place in which to do business, we are the safest place in the nation, and we do not have a 5.5% sales tax,” Packard added. “We are not afraid to slam the door on reckless legislation that undermines private businesses. The door to freedom is just across the border — and New Hampshire is always open for business.”

The Kittery Trading Post already operates a gun exchange in neighboring Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the Route 1 Bypass.  

Maine’s 72-hour waiting period gun bill a response to Lewiston mass shooting

Maine’s waiting period bill, LD 2238, was sponsored by state Sen. Peggy Rotundo, a Democrat from Lewiston. It would require firearm sellers who violate the three-day waiting period to pay a civil penalty between $200 and $500 for a first offense before rising to between $500 and $1,000 for all subsequent violations.

The Maine law would not apply to law enforcement officers, correction officers, licensed private security guards, employees of contract security companies nor proprietary security organizations, according to the text of the bill. The sale of guns between federally licensed firearm dealers would also not need to adhere to the waiting period law. 

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine released the letter and financial impact statement from the Kittery Trading Post on social media on May 2.

“We just received this very disturbing letter from one of our outdoor partners, Kittery Trading Post,” the organization wrote on social media. “Unless stopped, the 72-hour waiting period bill will lead to the end of an era. Nice job legislators! How many more businesses will be doomed to the same fate?”

Mills’ announcement in support of LD 2238 notes opponents of the bill argue it “places an undue burden on law-abiding citizens, including potentially limiting the obtaining of a weapon for self-protection in exigent circumstances” and wouldn’t have prevented the mass shooting event in Lewiston last October. The deadly spree perpetrated by U.S. Army reservist Robert Card killed 18 people and injured 13 others.

Backers of the bill argue the waiting period could help prevent deaths by suicide by creating a cooling off period before firearms are delivered to those in distress. 

“In carefully considering all the arguments, I have decided to allow this bill to become law,” Mills stated in her April 29 news release. “I do so, however, with some caveats and concerns and with the hope that it can be implemented to accomplish its intended goal of preventing suicide by firearm without overburdening our outdoor sports economy and the rights of responsible gun owners and dealers to engage in lawful and constitutionally protected activities.”

The Maine governor has directed the state’s public safety commissioner and attorney general to monitor legal challenges against similar waiting periods enacted in other states. Mills also ordered the two officials to give guidance to law enforcement and the public on how the law would affect temporary firearm transfers and citizens’ abilities to purchase firearms for immediate personal protection.

The lobbyist National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action has critiqued the waiting period bill in Maine. 

“This law, which goes into effect 90 days after the Maine Legislature adjourns, greatly restricts Mainers’ Second Amendment rights by placing an arbitrary three-day delay on firearm purchases purchased through a Federally Firearms Licensee,” the NRA-ILA said Tuesday. “The passage of this bill has left the state reeling, with concerns over an individual’s ability to obtain a firearm for urgent self-defense needs and the immediate and long-term economic loss to the state.”

The Kittery Trading Post, open since 1938, is a major attraction within the outlet shopping centers in town and draw to in- and out-of-state shoppers.

Keim did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

You Might Like

Articles You May Like

On The Range With An ICORE S&W M-28
Olight Marauder Mini Flashlight Review : Incredible 7000 Lumens!
Thriller Book Store Releases Action Crime Novels By Best Selling Author Brian Leslie Published -True American Publishing
Lone Wolf Mountain Workcamp – INTRO – Overnight Adventure
Trump receives NRA endorsement as he vows to protect gun rights

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *