Members of the group Thoughts and Prayers in Action conclude their prayer circle outside Cabela’s in Scarborough on Saturday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

In response to the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston, a new organization held a two-hour prayer circle on Saturday in front of Cabela’s in Scarborough, asking the national chain to stop selling AR-style semi-automatic rifles, or what they called “weapons of war.”

They held signs that read: “Stop Selling Assault Weapons Now,” “Cabela’s Profits Weapons of Mass Murder,” “What Would Jesus Carry, Not Guns” and “604 Mass Shootings This Year: How Many More?”

The group, Thoughts and Prayers in Action, is made up of numerous interfaith organizations, including Trinity Episcopal Church of Lewiston, First Universalist Church of Auburn, Portland Friends Meeting (Quakers), Congregation Bet Ha’am of South Portland and more.

In addition to asking Cabela’s to stop selling AR-style semi-automatic rifles, the group wants the sporting goods chain to discontinue the sale of high-capacity magazines and raise the minimum age for all firearm sales from 18 to 21.

As shoppers entered and left the building on Saturday, about 50 people formed a circle in front of a moose statue at the Cabela’s front entrance. They offered prayers, held moments of silence, sang songs and held signs protesting the sale of semi-automatic rifles. On Oct. 25, Robert Card used an AR-10-style rifle to kill 18 people at a Lewiston bowling alley and a bar.

During the vigil, clergy leaders, church members and individuals who were not affiliated with a church came to ask Cabela’s, which is privately owned by Bass Pro Shops, to follow the lead of other corporations that have stopped selling AR-15s, including Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.


“It’s time we start putting lives over guns instead of guns over lives,” said Leslie Manning, of Bath, a former president of the Maine Council of Churches.

Cabela’s is among the “leading purveyors of weapons of war in the country,” Manning said, noting that Thoughts and Prayers in Action isn’t asking retailers to stop selling firearms entirely. “We’re asking them to stop selling the assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.”

L.L. Bean sells hunting guns at its Freeport store, but not semi-automatic rifles. After the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the retailer raised the age from 18 to 21 for gun purchases.

A manager on duty at Cabela’s in Scarborough declined to comment. An email to the Cabela’s corporate media office was not returned Saturday.

At one point, the Cabela’s assistant general manager asked the group to leave, Manning said. The group remained, and the prayer circle continued until 2 p.m.

Christian Kryger, of Gray, handed out “No More Weapons of War” flyers to people as shoppers passed.


Most whom he encountered shook their heads and gave a negative response to what the group was doing, he said, adding that a few engaged in positive conversations.

Kryger said he’s not with any church, but showed up “because the violence is just off the charts. For a long time, it’s been something at a distance.” But with the mass shooting in Lewiston, “now it’s really close. Close to my home. Close to people I care about.”

He said he supports gun legislation restricting high-capacity weapons. “Start with tighter laws.”

One man who declined to give his name said he appreciated the intent of the group, that he is a gun owner and that he’s had safety gun training. But he feels that laws restricting weapons wouldn’t stop criminals from obtaining them, he said, and a gun owner like himself would not be able to help others in danger.

As the group sang hymns, Klara Tammany of Lewiston’s Trinity Episcopal Church said she was there because of the Oct. 25 slayings. “I live in Lewiston,” she said. “My church is in the Tree Street neighborhood where there is gun violence. Not assault rifles, yet anyway.”

Tammany said she’s not against guns or hunting. “I’m against the misuse of guns and the use of weapons of war in a civil society.” If the government can’t find the will to ban assault weapons, she said, “anybody who sells assault weapons has to stop selling them.”


Maggie Fehr, of Portland, said she’s been calling Johnny Morris – a lot.

Morris is the CEO of Bass Pro Shops, the parent company of Cabela’s. Semi-automatic rifles used in mass shootings “being sold in places like this should be taken off the shelves,” Fehr said. Her calls have not been answered, she said.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is proposing a limit on the number of bullets a gun can hold as part of new legislation to regulate how firearms are manufactured and sold in the United States.

The bill introduced Thursday, called the GOSAFE Act, is different than what’s commonly known as an assault weapons ban because it regulates how guns are made rather than banning specific models. Rifles and shotguns would be barred from having magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, while handguns could carry up to 15 rounds. Some high-capacity magazines used in mass shootings have carried 25 to 50 rounds or more. GOSAFE stands for Gas-Operated Semi-Automatic Firearms Exclusion.

Allen Ewing-Merrill, a member of HopeGateWay in Portland, said he’s the father of two daughters. “They think every day about gun violence. Occasionally, they do lockdown drills in their schools.”

He said can’t promise them that a shooting will never happen in their school.

“Even though they know it’s a drill, it’s still traumatizing.”


Staff Writer Joe Lawlor contributed to this report.

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