L.L. Bean Inc. has joined a growing list of retailers that say they no longer will sell guns and ammunition to customers younger than 21.

The Freeport-based company is following other major gun sellers such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, both of which announced this week that they have raised the minimum age for all firearm and ammunition purchases in their stores from 18 to 21. Dick’s also said it no longer will carry assault-style rifles.

However, other gun retailers in Maine either declined to comment on the question of changing their sales policies or said they aren’t planning to increase their required age for rifle and shotgun purchases from the federally mandated minimum of 18.

In response to a request on Twitter from a self-described L.L. Bean “superfan” who asked the Freeport-based retailer to raise its minimum gun purchase age, the company tweeted late Thursday, “In the wake of this shooting we have reviewed our policy on firearm sales, and we will no longer be selling guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.”

The tweet had more than 4,100 likes and about 475 replies by the end of Friday, most of them in support of the company’s decision.

According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives licensee database, L.L. Bean only sells firearms at its flagship store in Freeport. The store sells a wide variety of hunting rifles and shotguns, but does not carry any handguns or assault-style weapons.


L.L. Bean did not respond to multiple requests for comment Friday.


In a series of tweets following L.L. Bean’s announcement that it was raising its minimum age for gun purchases to 21, the retailer explained that it only sells firearms designed for hunting, and only after “comprehensive background checks” in compliance with state and federal law.

“We do not sell assault-style firearms, high-capacity firearms, bump stocks or handguns of any kind,” L.L. Bean tweeted.

The company also noted that its gun sales are part of a tradition of selling goods for outdoor activities such as hunting and sport shooting, and that the company does not have any ties to the National Rifle Association or any other political group or candidate.

“L.L. Bean does not endorse political candidates or make political contributions,” it said. “No individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company. We value our customers and hope that you will continue to support our business.”


L.L. Bean is a major sponsor of Augusta-based lobbying group Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which has a page on its website dedicated to gun rights. However, alliance Executive Director David Trahan said gun rights are not the group’s primary focus.

Trahan said the alliance’s mission is to promote and protect all activities related to the outdoors, including wildlife conservation, hunting and fishing.

“We are not a firearms rights organization per se,” he said.

Trahan said L.L. Bean is a “partner” that provides funding for the alliance’s youth programs. He did not criticize the retailer’s decision to raise its minimum purchase age for guns, but said it would have an impact on where Mainers can buy firearms.

“Businesses have a right to do whatever they want, as long as it’s legal,” Trahan said. “We’ll see how it all plays out.”



L.L. Bean’s announcement came 15 days after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 students and teachers were killed, and at least 14 others were wounded. The suspected shooter, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, is a 19-year-old former student who had been expelled from the school. He is charged with using an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle to carry out the killings.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 shootings, Dick’s announced Wednesday that it no longer would sell semiautomatic, assault-style rifles at any of its stores, including four in Maine.

The sporting goods chain, which has stores in Augusta, Bangor, South Portland and Topsham, said it also has decided to remove high-capacity magazines from the shelves at its stores, and raise the minimum age of purchase for any firearm to 21.

Walmart similarly increased its minimum age to 21 for all gun sales following the Parkland shootings. In 2015, the retail giant barred sales of high-powered rifles such as AR-15s, according to news 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 firearms dealer is 21.



A handful of independent firearms dealers in the Lewiston-Auburn area said this week that they were not changing their policies as a result of the mounting political pressure to place more restrictions on gun sales.

A spokesman for Kittery-based outdoor retailer Kittery Trading Post, who declined to give his name, said he did not want to discuss whether the company planned to raise its minimum purchase age for guns from the current 18 to 21.

“We’re just not doing any interviews at all,” he said.

Bass Pro Shops, which owns Cabela’s sporting goods stores, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Lewiston Sun Journal Staff Writer Christopher Williams and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:


Twitter: jcraiganderson

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