Biba: Kittery Trading Post’s fearmongering on guns bad for businessTim Biba 

Gun Rights

Before I moved to Portsmouth three years ago, I spent a decade working as a political staffer for members of Congress from across the United States.

Though all the lawmakers I worked for were Democrats, their views on guns varied. One had an A+ rating from the NRA and voted with the gun lobby every time. A second was a moderate, supporting some things like universal background checks, but not others. A third, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq, gave credibility to the Left on guns and actively introduced legislation like a federal ban on bumpstocks.

Over the course of my employment, Congress considered legislation following several mass shootings, including those at Sandy Hook Elementary and Parkland High School, Pulse Nightclub, and the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

You Might Like

I’ve taken hundreds of phone calls from NRA members and reviewed thousands of emails. I was present in a meeting where a congressman told a group of parents from Sandy Hook that he would be a decisive vote against the policy named for their dead kids.

It is possible I have heard every argument for and against legislation concerning gun policy. That’s why I find Kittery Trading Post’s threat to leave Maine because of a state law taking effect this summer so odd. The law, which would require a 72-hour wait between the sale of a gun and the purchaser receiving it, is the Maine legislature’s response to the Lewiston mass shooting last year.

According to reporting from Seacoastonline, Kittery Trading Post’s owners recently sent a letter to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine claiming the law would result in a loss of $400,000 in sales tax revenue for Maine and 40,000 customers per year who the business estimates would purchase a gun if they didn’t have to wait for 72 hours to get one.

Kittery Trading Post’s impact statement does not reflect what has happened to other sporting goods stores who have changed how they do business in response to mass shootings.

According to a case study from the Harvard Business School, Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, decided to stop selling the type of semi-automatic rifle used in the Parkland mass shooting and declined to sell guns and ammunition to any customer under age 21. One company study that Stack reviewed estimated Dick’s would lose $250 million as a result of these company policies, which are far more restrictive than Maine’s law.

Stack, whose father founded Dick’s, was the largest shareholder of the company’s stock. He also worried Wall Street would respond negatively, causing further losses.

The company did lose money off the bat, but it made up the lost profits in future quarters. In fact, the decision actually resulted in more revenue for Dick’s in the long run, because the company stocked the areas of its stores where the guns used to be with items that had better profit margins than guns.

REI and Maine’s own L.L. Bean followed Stack’s lead, and both seem to be doing just fine. REI made $3.76 billion in net sales last year. L.L. Bean made $1.7 billion, the company’s third-best year in its history. Last year was so good that L.L. Bean’s Board of Directors approved a performance bonus of 9% of annual pay for all of its approximately 5,600 employees.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has invited Kittery Trading Post to move to New Hampshire touting the state’s tax and gun policies. But relocating a business that is beloved by its community, is sighted in a high-traffic shopping area and whose brand is unmistakably rooted in Maine seems like a decision that would hurt the bottom line.

Maine’s legislature isn’t even talking about a ban on ammunition or gun sales, just a 72-hour waiting period between the purchase of a gun and the receipt of it. According to Giffords, the nonprofit former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords founded after a 33-year-old man shot her in the head and killed six other people including a member of her staff, a 9-year-old girl, and a federal judge at a “Congress on Your Corner” event in the parking lot of a supermarket, state laws like the one Maine enacted give the government the time it takes to process a background check and could prevent impulsive gun purchases by people who are contemplating suicide.

If they track like the rest of the country, Kittery Trading Post’s customers support a waiting period. According to Giffords, waiting periods like Maine’s have the support of 85% of non-gun owners and 72% of gun owners. In fact, 75% of the country says it would support a 30-day waiting period, far longer than the 72-hour period that Maine has enacted.

When business owners like Kittery Trading Post’s use a business argument to fearmonger over gun policy there is little downside, because there is currently no market force beyond civic responsibility working in opposition to profit that accurately reflects the death and terror that guns have wrought in this country.

State legislatures and Congress could create one by passing policies that give the victims of gun violence the ability to hold gun sellers and gun makers civilly liable for selling guns to the wrong people. Congress could do this nationally by repealing the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, and Maine’s legislature and other states could repeal similar state-level policies that shield gunmakers and gunsellers from liability.

Our community has given its business to Kittery Trading Post for 86 years. Rather than fearmonger and threaten to turn its back on us, the business’s owners should consider the facts. If they follow Stack’s example, they might even make more money.

Tim Biba spent a decade as a congressional communications staffer for three members of Congress. He is currently a public relations consultant for publicly-traded companies. He lives in Portsmouth. He is an avid hiker and skier who regularly shops at Kittery Trading Post.

You Might Like

Articles You May Like

Texas judge blocks Biden ATF rule expanding gun background checks
Thriller Book Store Releases Action Crime Novels By Best Selling Author Brian Leslie Published -True American Publishing
Donald Trump accused of ‘senile brain glitch’ as he stands silent for 30 seconds mid-speech
Donald Trump Teases Third Term As President At NRA Annual Meeting In Dallas
Trump woos thousands of ‘rebellious’ gun-rights advocates as he accepts 2024 endorsement at NRA convention

Leave a Reply

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