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Protesters, Gun Advocates Face Off On Assault-style Rifles

Ioanna Raptis
AP Photo
A large group of gun rights advocates gather Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 to show support for the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine, as the Resistance Seacoast group held a protest in front of the sporting goods store.

Protesters who want a Maine store to stop selling assault-style rifles and gun rights advocates faced off over the issue Saturday, but kept their dealings civil.

The Kittery Trading Post was the scene of rallies by dozens of members of the Resistance Seacoast and Kittery Trading Post Action Group and counter-protesters supporting gun rights, Seacoastonline.com reported. Police watched over the two groups, which stood on opposite sides of the store’s main entrance.

The protests followed a letter from several Maine and New Hampshire lawmakers asking the store to restrict gun sales and discontinue sales of what the lawmakers call assault-style rifles.

“I think if everyone wants to be entitled to a musket — fine,” Resistance Seacoast member Carol Selsberg said. “That is what our Founding Fathers meant by the right to bear arms. They had no idea about assault weapons.”

But Derek Levasseur, of Fairfield, who writes a blog called Derek US Patriot, told Seacoastonline.com, “The Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing. By the time the Second Amendment was written, assault rifles already existed.”

Levasseur, who said he owns three assault-style rifles for hunting, said the trading post employs many local people and it was wrong to target them.

A representative of Kittery Trading Post declined to comment.

The protest was the latest effort by gun control advocates to target retailers that sell assault weapons following the mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, and other communities. Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods decided they would no longer sell “assault weapons” or firearms to people under age 21.

Updated September 2, 2018 8:30 a.m.