A large outdoor retailer and gun shop in southern Maine said it plans to stop selling firearms in the state because of a new law set to take effect this summer requiring a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases.

Kittery Trading Post said that it would move its firearms business to New Hampshire, where it currently has a small gun exchange facility. The Maine store is about 2 miles from the New Hampshire border.

The store’s announcement follows a statement from Gov. Janet Mills this week that she would let the legislation become law without her signature.

The law, which will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, likely some time in August, means that someone who purchases a gun will have to wait three days to obtain it, with exceptions for sales between family members, firearms sold as relics or antiques, sales where background checks are not required, and sales to law enforcement, security and corrections officers.

In a statement, Kittery Trading Post said the law will have “irreversible consequences” for its longstanding outdoor sports retail business, which relies heavily on tourism.

The 72-hour waiting period “forces law-abiding customers” to make two visits over three days to complete a legal firearm sale, with the extra time, gas and other expenses further driving up costs for the consumer, the company said.


The gun retailer estimated it brings in over $11 million in new and used firearm sales each year, and that roughly 60% of those 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,” Kittery Trading Post said.

In a financial impact statement, the company said it could lose more than 40,000 customers annually, and cost the state more than $400,000 in sales tax revenue.

The multiplier impact on area businesses is “unknown but drastic,” it said.

Opponents of the bill, including Gun Owners of Maine and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said Tuesday that they plan to file a legal challenge in an effort to block the measure.

Kittery Trading Post said it will be “vigorously” supporting the lawsuit against the state.


The announcement was of no surprise to Joshua Raines, vice president of Gun Owners of Maine. 

“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 said. “I’m very sad to see them go but I get it.” 

He lamented the impact their leaving would have on Kittery and the outlets. 

“What’s that going to do for the outlet stores that are already flagging and having troubles?” Raines said. 

Kittery Trading Post is the anchor in the town’s shopping center and a dramatic decline in business could be bad news for the outlet stores. And moving the gun operations would likely hurt other parts of Kittery Trading Post’s sales. 

Raines expects others will follow suit.



But David Farmer, a spokesperson for the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, said Friday that he was “dubious” of Kittery Trading Post’s numbers. 

Maine has no shortage of successful federally licensed firearms dealers he said, noting Windham Weaponry’s announcement this week that it has reopened with strong gun sales after a yearlong shutdown. 

“You never want to see a Maine business leave the state,” he said, “but I think the threat is politically motivated more than economically motivated.” 

Proponents of the 72-hour waiting period have pitched it as a “cooling off” period that will prevent the purchaser of a firearm from acting impulsively, particularly when it comes to suicides.

“It’s about saving lives,” Farmer said. “If that doesn’t fit into the business model of the Kittery Trading Post then that’s too bad.”


Maine joined 12 other states and the District of Columbia in enacting a waiting period on firearms purchases when Mills allowed it to become law on Monday despite being conflicted about the impacts it might have.

The law was approved by lawmakers by narrow margins in the wake of the mass shooting in Lewiston that left 18 people dead and 13 others injured in October.

Mills said in a written statement that she was “deeply conflicted” over the 72-hour waiting period. Opponents have argued it is a constitutionally dubious and arbitrary standard that would not have prevented the October mass shooting. Mills’ office did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

She said she will ask her commissioner of public safety and the attorney general to monitor constitutional challenges to similar laws, including in Vermont, and to review and provide guidance about how the bill will impact firearm sales.

Also on Monday, Mills vetoed a bill that would have banned bump stocks and other devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire like a machine gun.

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