Updated: An Oregon 20-year-old has filed lawsuits against Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, alleging age discrimination after he tried unsuccessfully to purchase rifles after the stores announced last week they would not sell long guns to anyone under age 21, according to Willamette Week, a Portland-based alternative newspaper.
The lawsuits were revealed almost simultaneously to Liberty Park Press’ headline story that asked whether the stores’ anti-gun sales restrictions violate anti-discrimination laws. In Oregon, that might be the case, since state law allows firearms purchases by young adults ages 18-20, which is also allowed under federal law.
This comes as Rasmussen Reports revealed Tuesday that a majority of American adults favor raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21. According to Rasmussen, 67 percent think the age to buy a gun should be raised while 26 percent oppose. However, only 38 percent favor raising the minimum age of military enlistment to 21, while 47 percent oppose and 15 percent are undecided. Only 31 percent think the minimum voting age should be raised back to 21, Rasmussen said. Sixty percent oppose raising the voting age.
Willamette Week had interviewed a former judge in Lane County who indicated the sales restrictions might violate the Beaver State statute prohibiting age discrimination.
Grants Pass resident Tyler Watson filed the lawsuit two days after his Saturday shopping trek to the Walmart in Grants Pass and an earlier visit to a Field & Stream in Medford, which is a Dick’s subsidiary, according to the Bend Bulletin and Portland Oregonian/OregonLive.com. At the Field & Stream, according to the Portland newspaper, Watson tried to purchase a .22-caliber Ruger rifle.
Watson is represented by Grants Pass attorney Max Whittington, the newspapers said. The plaintiff reportedly already owns some firearms.
This may be the first, but not the last, challenge to the store sales policies that were announced in reaction to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school. The alleged killer in that case is a 19-year-old ex-student at the high school who legally purchased firearms in Florida.
While it appears authorities in Broward County were familiar with the suspect and had responded to calls at his residence over the past few years, and that the FBI also had been tipped about his social media comments, there was no follow-up. Instead, social pressure is being directed at placing further restrictions on law-abiding gun owners and young adults aged 18-20.
Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bi-Mart and the Kroger Company, which operates Fred Meyer stores, all announced the no sales to anyone under age 21 policy last week.
Oregon is not the only state with anti-discrimination laws.
Anti-gunners in neighboring Washington State also want the age restriction, as did gun control proponents in Florida and other states.