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Purchasing a gun in the US? Walmart just hiked the minimum age limit to 21

Walmart is removing items from its website that resemble assault-style rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys


Representative Image. Photo:
Representative Image. Photo:

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc said it will permanently stop selling assault-style rifles after the massacre at a high school that has reopened a fierce debate over gun control in

The US retailer of camping supplies, sporting goods and guns will also stop selling high-and will not sell any guns to people under age 21, Dick's chief executive, Ed Stack, said in an open letter on the company's website.

Hours later, Walmart Inc, the largest US retailer, said it was raising the minimum age for the purchase of and ammunition to 21 from 18. Walmart stopped selling assault-style and accessories in 2015.

The announcements came the same day that classes resumed at High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people, mostly students, were killed two weeks ago in one of the deadliest US mass shootings.

The accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, legally purchased a weapon at Dick's in November, although not the type used in the shooting, Stack said. Cruz, a former student at Stoneman Douglas, is accused of using an assault-style weapon to carry out the killing.

The massacre spurred a youth-led wave of protests, and state and officials are considering whether to pass stricter gun control measures. The powerful Rifle Association traditionally opposes such curbs, citing the right to bear arms under the US Constitution's Second Amendment.

Dick's removed assault-style weapons from its Dick's-branded stores after the 2012 shooting at in that killed 20 first-graders and six adults but continued selling them through another Wednesday's move takes them out of its 35 outlets as well, Stack said, adding the measure would be permanent.

Some analysts said the 2012 decision did not hurt the retailer's sales, likely giving company executives confidence to make Wednesday's move.

Stack said he knew the company's decision would upset some customers, but he cited the passionate response by the students and families in

"We have heard you," he said.

In addition to instituting the age limit for buying guns, Walmart is removing items from its website that resemble assault-style rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys.

Stack said in his letter that Dick's respects the Second Amendment and but was obliged to address a gun epidemic that is killing too many children.

After the shooting, it was clear there were not enough systemic protections to prevent gun sales to people who are potential threats, Stack said, adding that should tighten background checks to include relevant mental health information.

Dick's, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, operates about 715 Dick's-branded stores across the It was the latest company to take action after the shooting. Other businesses have cut ties with the NRA and gun manufacturers. Inc, the world's largest online retailer, has long prohibited the sale of and explosives on its websites, as well as ammunition and gun accessories in most cases. It declined to comment on the issue on Wednesday.

said its policy prohibits the sale of and high-of more than 10 rounds.

Since the shooting, gun-control supporters have called on Amazon as well as Roku, and others to drop the Rifle Association's programming from their

Bass Pro Shops, which acquired last year and sells guns under both retail brands, did not respond to requests for comment.

Package delivery company declined to comment on whether it would change its shipping policy after the shooting, while rival said it was not changing its policies.

First Published: Thu, March 01 2018. 07:47 IST