Maine Gun Shop Moving to New Hampshire if Waiting Period Law Takes Effect

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

One of the largest firearm retailers in the state of Maine is prepared to pack up and move across the border to New Hampshire after Gov. Janet Mills allowed a 72-hour waiting period bill to become law without her signature this week. 


The owners of Kittery Trading Post, which employs hundreds of workers, say the new law will harm customers, as well as the store's bottom line

Kittery Trading Post said it annually sells more than $11 million worth of new and used firearms and that 60 percent of its firearms business involves out-of-state residents. If the waiting period law takes effect, it estimated a more than $400,000 loss in sales tax revenue and a loss of 40,000 customers annually.

The company said the waiting period measure forces “law-abiding customers” to make two visits over three days to complete a sale, which “means extra time, gas and sundries which further drives up the cost of the transaction for the consumer.”

Kittery Trading Post Vice President Fox Keim told the Bangor Daily News the company and its 350 employees “cater to a diverse clientele and have historically stayed out of politics.”

“This law will impact all categories of business, not just firearms,” Keim said. “We are a multi-generational family destination store and will fight to uphold our values.”

The company did not immediately specify where it would move to in New Hampshire, though it already has a gun exchange facility just over the border in Portsmouth.


I'm glad to see Keim and Kittery Trading Post speak up about the negative impact that the bill will have. Requiring gun buyers to wait an extra three days before they can pick up their firearm will increase the cost of those purchases, in terms of both time and money. 

Kittery Trading Post sells more than just firearms, and it sounds like the company would keep its non-gun side of the business at its current location in southern Maine. Still, losing the firearms business to New Hampshire would mean Maine will miss out on that tax revenue, as well as watching good-paying jobs go to their neighboring state. 

While Kittery might be the largest firearms retailer to look for an exit strategy, I doubt it's the only FFL in the state to do so. A lot of smaller shops, particularly those that are already reasonably close to the New Hampshire border, are going to investigate similar moves. Unfortunately, that's not going to be feasible for some shops, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a number of independent stores end up closing once the law takes effect and many Mainers choose to drive across the border to purchase rifles and shotguns, which don't have to be shipped back to an in-state FFL for pickup. 


We know that lawsuits over the new waiting period are coming. I'm curious to see if Kittery Trading Post will be one of the named plaintiffs in any of the litigation, or if the company will sit out the legal fight. At the very least, I hope they'll find a way to provide some financial support to groups like the Sportsmans Alliance of Maine and Gun Owners of America, which have already signaled their intent to sue, when the first lawsuits are filed.

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