By Brian Kelly
EVERETT — Kmart stopped sales of guns and ammunition Tuesday in response to the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
Kmart has about 2,100 stores nationwide, including Everett and Marysville, which were following the companywide order.
At the Marysville branch, guns and ammo were being kept away from customers.
"It’s behind locked doors now. We’ll find out this afternoon or this evening when we’ll be able to go back to selling them again," said assistant manager William Cantu.
The move to halt sales was a precautionary measure, Cantu said, "So no one would go on a rampage … or cause any disruptions."
Officials at Kmart’s corporate headquarters in Troy, Mich., declined comment but issued a statement on the decision.
"The safety of our customers and associates is our first priority," the statement said. "As an added precaution during this national crisis, Kmart temporarily removed firearms and ammunition from its sales floor yesterday. Stores are being instructed to return firearms and ammunition to the sales floor today."
Independent gun shops in the area continued to sell guns and ammo this week, according to a random check of businesses Wednesday.
Some criticized Kmart’s decision.
Monty Van Hoy, the owner of Top Guns Inc. in Shoreline, said the restrictions on gun and ammo sales could be a first sign of an erosion of rights in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
"People have the right to protect themselves," Van Hoy said, adding that news reports indicate the terrorists who took over the four hijacked planes were not armed with guns.
Kmart’s move may give anti-gun opponents fuel for their fight to restrict constitutionally guaranteed rights.
"They’ll blow the whole thing out of proportion," Van Hoy said. "The majority of people don’t feel that way; they don’t want encroachment on their lives from the government."
You can call Herald Writer Brian Kelly at 425-339-3422 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.