Not all locals believe Dick's was right to stop selling assault rifles

A sign hangs outside of a Dick's Sporting Goods store

A 20-year-old man in OR is suing Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart over their new gun policies after the stores refused to sell him a rifle.

Dick's and Walmart restricted gun sales in the wake of the February 14 Florida high school massacre.

Each company says their decision comes in reaction to the shooting where a 19-year-old is accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

OR law allows state residents to buy shotguns or rifles as of age 18.

Tyler Watson, a 20-year-old from Gold Hill, Oregon, alleged in lawsuits filed separately against both retailers that they discriminated against him based on his age when they refused to sell him firearms. Dick's Sporting Goods announced its policy to raise the minimum age to buy weapons on February 28. Watson alleges, therefore, that the stores' policies violate OR statutes that protect its citizens from age-based discrimination. The two retailers said their decisions were a reaction to the mass shooting. The company noted it had already removed assault-style rifles from its Dick's Sporting Goods division following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

"Saying you may discriminate on the basis of age for anyone under 21, now you've discriminated against a person's Second Amendment right", he said.

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After Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart denied a 20-year-old a rifle, the young man is now suing the companies.

(NYSE:DKS). Virginia-based Burney has invested 0.03% in Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. And Dick's stopped selling assault-style rifles at its Field & Stream stores. The attorney also said Watson is not part of any organized movement taking action against retailers that have enacted tighter restrictions on gun sales. "While we haven't seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court".

True, the companies are presumably trying to make a public statement with their no-gun-sales-to-under-21-year-olds policy; but that statement shouldn't be much diluted by an exception for some states when the explanation for the exception is that they have to comply with the law.

OR law allows residents who are 18 or older to purchase guns.

The lawsuits in Jackson and Josephine counties both ask a judge to put a stop to the retailers' new gun sale policies and award punitive damages because of the "willful nature of the discrimination". Walmart stopped selling AR-15s and other types of semi-automatic weapons in 2015, but also announced last week that it will no longer sell firearms or ammunition to anyone under 21 years of age.

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