Famed Trading Post May Leave Maine if Waiting Period Law Goes in Effect

by Vern Evans
Kittery Trading Post

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Kittery Trading Post, a prominent outdoor retailer and gun shop in southern Maine, has announced plans to move its gun operations to New Hampshire in response to a new Maine law imposing a 72-hour waiting period on gun purchases. This decision comes as local gun rights groups prepare to challenge the legislation in court.

The new law, which is set to take effect this summer, will require buyers to wait three days before receiving firearms purchased through a Federally Firearms Licensee, with few exceptions. Critics argue this restriction unnecessarily burdens law-abiding citizens and could endanger those in urgent need of self-defense.

Kittery Trading Post, a landmark that has served sportsmen since 1938 and is known for attracting significant tourist traffic, cited the law’s “irreversible consequences” on its business, which generates over $11 million annually from new and used firearm sales. According to a statement from the store, about 60% of these sales are to out-of-state residents.

“If this law is implemented, we will be forced to move our entire firearms business to New Hampshire,” the retailer said. The move could result in the loss of more than 40,000 customers annually and cost Maine more than $400,000 in sales tax revenue, the company estimated. The potential multiplier impact on area businesses is “unknown but drastic.”

Joshua Raines, vice president of Gun Owners of Maine, expressed his disappointment, noting, “If one-third of their income is going to be drastically impacted by this law, then it makes financial business sense for them to move over the border.” He added that the relocation could be detrimental not just to the outlet but also to the broader community.

This development followed after what the NRA Institute for Legislative Action described as “a barrage of procedural games and inaction” by Governor Janet Mills, which led to the passage of the controversial LD 2238. Opponents, such as the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Gun Owners of Maine, argue that the law places unnecessary restrictions on Mainers’ Second Amendment rights and plan to file a legal challenge.

The law, which was passed despite significant opposition, is seen by some as influenced more by national anti-gun interests than by considerations for Maine’s economic welfare or constitutional rights. Kittery Trading Post has pledged vigorous support for the impending lawsuit, emphasizing the substantial implications the law holds not only for their business but for the entire region.

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