Oregon man, aged 20, sues Dick’s and Walmart over new age restrictions on rifles
A 20-year-old man from Oregon has filed lawsuits against Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, alleging the two retailers discriminated against him when they refused to sell him a rifle because of his age.
Dick’s and Walmart restricted gun sales to people 21 and older in the wake of the Florida high school massacre.
The 19-year-old accused of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School legally bought the AR-15 used in the attack.
The lawsuits are believed to be the first filed over the new gun policies.
Oregon law allows residents to buy shotguns or rifles starting at 18.
Tyler Watson’s lawsuits, which were filed against the retailers in Jackson and Josephine counties, both ask a judge to stop to the retailers’ new gun sale policies and award punitive damages because of the "willful nature of the discrimination."
On Tuesday, the state Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a letter to state legislative leaders that the bureau would accept complaints from Oregonians who feel they have been discriminated against by the policies.
Without commenting on the merits of Mr Watson’s lawsuits, Commissioner Brad Avakian said state law currently only allows for age-related exemptions for alcohol and marijuana sales.
The bureau will present a bill to add a similar age restriction for gun sales to the legislature next year for consideration, he said, adding that the policies seemed "appropriate" because they attempted to make public spaces safer.
Avakian also urged lawmakers to pass a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
Legal papers filed Monday say a store owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods in Medford, Oregon, refused to sell Mr Watson a .22-caliber Ruger rifle on or around February 24.
A second suit says a Walmart in Grants Pass, Oregon, refused to sell him an unspecified type of rifle on March 3.
Mr Watson, of Gold Hill, Oregon, could not be reached for comment.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the retailer plans to defend the new policy.
"We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it," he said. "While we haven’t seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court."
A representative of Dick’s didn’t immediately return a call on Tuesday.
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