LEWISTON — Three gun shops in the Twin Cities area said Thursday they have no plans to further restrict firearms sales despite new announcements that Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart will limit the minimum age of those who may buy long guns.
In the wake of the Florida school shootings Feb. 14, Dick’s announced Wednesday it would no longer sell semiautomatic, assault-style rifles at any of its stores, including four in Maine.
The sporting goods giant, which has stores in Augusta, Bangor, South Portland and Topsham, has also decided to remove high-capacity magazines from the shelves at its stores, and raise to 21 years the minimum age of customers for any firearms purchases.
Walmart stores, likewise, upped its minimum age to 21 for all gun sales. In 2015, the retail giant barred sales of high-powered rifles, such as AR-15 assault-style guns, according to reports.
Federal law allows long guns such as rifles and shotguns to be sold to qualifying buyers 18 or older. The minimum age for handgun sales from a firearm dealer is 21.
Gage Jordan, manager at G3 Firearms in Turner, said he can understand why Dick’s and Walmart took steps to make gun purchases more difficult for some customers, but noted those stores do not rely solely on gun sales for revenue.
“They’ve done it to be in the middle so they don’t catch flack from just one side,” Jordan said. “So, they’ll make people a little bit happier. That’s how I take it.”
The revenue loss for Dick’s and Walmart appears to have benefited smaller firearms shops, like G3.
“I will say it has actually boosted business for us,” Jordan said.
Nate Maillet, owner of First Due Firearms in Sabattus, which sells assault-style rifles, said he has imposed no restrictions on his sales and has no plan to do so.
Jamie Pelletier, manager of J.T. Reid’s Guns & Cigars on Court Street in Auburn, said the store is following federal laws regarding gun restrictions.
The owners of a couple of other gun shops in the area declined to comment when asked whether they had followed the lead of Dick’s and Walmart.
Seventeen students or staff members were killed and others wounded on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled, used an AR-15 assault rifle to launch an attack on the school.
Blayne Arseneault of Leeds tests the scope Thursday on a Seekins Precision AR-15 at G3 Firearms in Turner. “I am in here all the time and am thinking about putting a down-payment on this beauty,” Arseneault said. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)