Walmart said Wednesday it won’t sell guns and ammunition to customers who are under 21 years old, following a similar move by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Retailers and gun manufacturers are facing calls from gun-control advocates to impose new limits after a gunman killed 17 people in a Parkland, Florida, high school. Dick’s said it will end the sale of “assault-style rifles” in its stores and stop selling all guns to customers under age 21. Federal law prevents citizens under 18 from buying a rifle. The age restriction for handguns is 21.
Walmart previously stopped offering modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15, in 2015. The nation’s largest retailer also doesn’t sell handguns, except in Alaska. Those sales will continue, Walmart said.
The company said it has a process to ensure that its policies are applied to its e-commerce marketplace, where third parties can sell their products. Walmart is removing items that resemble AR-15 rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.
“We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm,” Walmart said. “Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way.”
The retailer is also was removing items from its website that resemble assault rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys. Walmart stopped selling assault firearms and accessories in 2015 and only sells handguns in Alaska, Fox News reports.
As well, the Kroger Company will stop selling guns to customers under the age of 21, the grocery store chain said Thursday, joining two other major retailers who have raised age limits after last month’s school shooting in Florida.
Kroger sells guns at 43 of its 133 Fred Meyer locations in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. It said that, in those stores, customers would not be able to buy either guns or ammunition until undergoing a background check that would verify their age.
A spokeswoman for the company, Kristal J. Howard, said that the change was a direct response to the massacre in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed in a school shooting.
“We follow all state and local laws regulating the sales of sporting-related firearms at our select general-merchandise Fred Meyer stores,” she said. “Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers.”
The company had already stopped selling assault-style rifles at Fred Meyer locations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington several years ago, and said it would no longer sell assault-style rifles in Alaska or accept any special orders of those guns in the state. It said that it could make the changes immediately. The Wall Street Journal reported the chain’s decision Thursday.
Kroger’s decision follows that of two of the nation’s leading gun sellers, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, who on Wednesday announced that they would raise the age limit on gun sales to 21.
Dick’s also said that it would immediately end sales of all assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines, while Walmart said that it would no longer sell items resembling assault-style rifles, even including air guns and toys.
Federal law allows people 18 and older to buy semiautomatic rifles and other weapons, though a person must be at least 21 to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer.
With its announcement, Kroger becomes the latest company to adjust its policies after the shooting in Parkland. Hertz car rental, MetLife insurance, Delta airlines and others ended relationships with the National Rifle Association after the shooting.
The Cincinnati-based Kroger made a deal to acquire Fred Meyer in 1998, transforming it, at the time, into a leading chain in the West, Midwest and Southeast. The Fred Meyer stores retained their names and local management teams, continuing to sell food and general merchandise in 800 stores in 12 states.
In 2016, a shareholder group proposed that Kroger’s board of directors ban the sale of semiautomatic weapons and accessories. Both parties took the argument to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which sided with the company in declining to recommend enforcement action.
Kroger said that in many stores it was scaling back the size of its gun departments based on less demand and changing customer preferences.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 1st, 2018