Lawsuit over buying rifles brings gun debate to retail stores

08 March, 2018, 03:47 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • A sign hangs outside of a Dick's Sporting Goods store

An Oregon man filed a lawsuit on Monday against Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods for "unlawful age discrimination" after he claimed both retailers refused to sell him a rifle.

Following the tragic Florida School shooting that left 17 students and staff dead, major retailers Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart have chose to buckle down and restrict gun sales to adults 21 and older.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was caused by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz.

OR law allows residents 18 and older to buy shotguns or rifles.

So when Tyler Watson walked into a Field & Stream store owned by Dick's in Medford, Oregon, on February 24 intending to buy a.22-caliber rifle, he was told no based on the retailer's new policy, his lawsuit says. The retailers' new policies were announced to the public on February 28.

"If these billionaire corporate bullies are illegally discriminating against people based on their age, then maybe some 19- or 20-year-old law-abiding gun owners should sue them", said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group.

"So we don't get sued for serving somebody that we're afraid is not responsible, might by analogy have some defense like that for the sale of firearms", Tuomala said of the relationship.

A Walmart spokesman told the Oregonian in a statement that the company would stand by its new policy, but that he has not seen Watson's complaint.

In Fulton v. Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. The only exceptions to the age rule apply to the sale of alcohol or marijuana to minors and special discounts or services for seniors.

Shares of Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS) have been assigned an average recommendation of "Hold" from the thirty-four analysts that are now covering the company, MarketBeat reports.

"I believe that at age 18 you should be allowed to purchase a firearm, at age 18 you can serve in the military, you can vote, you're in that draft form, so at age 18 you should be allowed to purchase a firearm period", McCullar says.

Watson's lawsuit is seeking legal injunctions that will order retailers "to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18,19, and 20-year-old customers at all OR locations, "according to USA Today".

And sure, Dick's is a place most of us think of as selling sneakers and Sox and Celtics T-shirts, but nationally 8 percent of its business is in guns.

In addition, Watson is seeking remuneration for his attorney's fees and an undetermined amount of punitive damages.

The double announcement, made two weeks after 17 students and staff were slaughtered in the school shooting in Parkland, were among the most noteworthy moves made on firearms by corporate America. And there is a bag of mixed reactions related to the new policies.

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