Rep. Deane Rykerson, D-Kittery, right, addresses a crowd outside Kittery Town Hall Monday, where he urged the Kittery Trading Post to stop selling what he called assault-style rifles. Credit: Hadley Barndollar | Portsmouth Herald

Maine Republicans are decrying an effort by some Democratic lawmakers urging Kittery Trading Post to stop selling certain firearms.

On Monday, nine Democratic lawmakers — three from Maine and six from New Hampshire — held a news conference to urge the landmark retailer to stop selling what they described as semi-automatic assault-style rifles such as the AR-15.

Rifles like the AR-15 have drawn the ire of gun control advocates in the aftermath of mass shootings around the country, including the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead. In the aftermath of the school shooting, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they would no longer carry what they called assault-style rifles, and Maine-based retailer L.L. Bean joined the two box store chains in saying it would only sell guns to people older than 21.

More recently, on June 28, a gunman attacked the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing five employees.

“Reducing gun deaths is a task that all of us have to undertake together,” Rep. Deane Rykerson, D-Kittery, one of the lawmakers to hold the Monday news conference, said. “If we can take action together to prevent these senseless shootings, we can save lives and make sure more people in this country leave the house each morning knowing they will see their families at the end of the day.”

Rykerson was reportedly joined by Lydia Blume, D-York, and Patty Hymanson, D-York, as well as six legislators from New Hampshire for the event.

But that didn’t sit well with their counterparts across the aisle.

In an open letter supporting the Maine store, Republican Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred, says Democratic lawmakers are harassing the business. State Sen. Ron Collins, R-Wells, another signatory to the Republican letter, said “we are ready to defend Maine’s heritage and our valued homegrown businesses.”

The Kittery Trading Post has maintained silence on the issue and declined to comment Thursday.

Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.