A 20-year-old Oregon man is suing Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart over their newly-imposed age restrictions on gun sales.
Tyler Watson, the Oregon resident suing the stores, says that the companies are discriminating against him based on his age.
What’s the background?
Watson, according to his lawsuit, visited Field & Stream — which is owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods — and Walmart in the weeks following the deadly Parkland, Florida school shooting, and attempted to purchase a .22-caliber Ruger rifle.
Watson reportedly visited the Field & Stream store on February 24 and an employee turned his purchase down, saying that it was a new store policy prohibited sales of firearms under 21 years of age.
Dick’s announced their new policy on February 28.
Watson reportedly visited the Walmart store in March 3 to purchase the same type of gun. Walmart employees also refused to sell Watson the weapon, citing a similar store policy change.
Walmart also announced their new policy on February 28.
According to Oregon state law, residents 18 years of age and older are legally able to purchase shotguns and rifles.
According to the outlet:
Oregon law allows residents to buy shotguns or rifles starting at age 18. Watson’s lawsuit says that Dick’s and Walmart’s policies violate Oregon statutes protecting residents against discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation or age, among other things. The law specifically says that the state can ban the sale of alcohol or marijuana to minors but doesn’t mention guns.
In response to news of the suit, a spokesperson for Walmart told The Oregonian that the company plans to stick to the new policy.
“We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it,” spokesperson Randy Hargrove said. “While we haven’t seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court.”
Dick’s has yet to publicly comment on the pending litigation.
In related news, Oregon became the first state to tighten gun regulations since February’s deadly school shooting.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Monday signed a bill into law prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning guns.
The Huffington Post reported that Oregon had previously banned those convicted of domestic violence or stalking crimes from owning guns.
The new law, however, closes a loophole that formerly permitted those convicted of such crimes — who weren’t married to, living with, or have children with the victim — to keep the firearms.