A protest over the gun policy of a well-known in New England retailer drew counter-protestors holding their Second Amendment ground.
On Saturday, Resistance Seacoast and the Kittery Trading Post Action Group mounted a protest at the southern Maine store’s location. The organizations argued that “Kittery Trading Post continues to sell these assault weapons that can quickly kill large numbers of people,” an extension of a campaign launched earlier this year to get the retailer to halt sales of some semi-automatic firearms.
What the activists, who numbered several dozens according to the Portland Press Herald, found was at least an equal number of pro-gun counter demonstrators. Pictures of the event by SeacoastOnline.com alternate between sides while the Maine Examiner’s coverage pegged the pro-gun group as about twice as large. The latter figure found concurrence with Maine Carry, who helped promote the counter-protest, as well as a Republican state lawmaker who stopped by.
“Huge turnout today in support of the Kittery Trading Post and our #2ndAmendment,” said state Sen. Eric Brakey in a post to social media, complete with the lawmaker holding an AR near KTP’s sign. “We won’t let Bloomberg and outside special interests intimidate Maine businesses.”
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. An opposing petition to “Preserve the sporting heritage of the Kittery Trading Post,” has 14,000 signatures.
Established in 1938, the family-owned store 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.”
While KTP did not have a statement, the store posted the Bill of Rights on their electric sign throughout the protest.