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Protesters, gun advocates face off on assault-style rifles

September 2, 2018
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James Cross of Manchester joins a large group counter-protesting the protest where members of the Resistance Seacoast group and Kittery Trading Post Action Group call for Kittery Trading Post to end the sale of "assault-style" rifles on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. The protest is the latest effort by gun control advocates to target retailers that sell assault weapons following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida and other high-profile shootings. (Ioanna Raptis/Portsmouth Herald via AP)

KITTERY, Maine (AP) — Protesters who want a Maine store to stop selling assault-style rifles and gun rights advocates faced off over the issue on 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,” said Resistance Seacoast member Carol Selsberg. “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, Maine, 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.

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