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Dick's Sporting Goods And Walmart Being Sued By 20-Year-Old Over New Gun Policies

Tyler Watson, 20, is suing Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart over claims of age discimination.

By Irina Gonzalez

Since the Parkland, Florida, shooting, companies have been making changes in response to the outcry over gun violence and the need for stricter gun control laws.

Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart have restricted gun sales to adults 21 and older in response to the massacre, but the companies are now facing a discrimination lawsuit from a 20-year-old man in Oregon after he was refused the selling of a rifle, according to NBC News

Currently, Oregon law states that residents can buy a shotgun or rifle starting at age 18. In Florida, the accused Parkland shooter was a 19-year-old who legally bought the AR-15 used in the attack. 

Tyler Watson's lawsuit against Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart is possibly the first of its kind, his attorney Max Whittington, told The Oregonian. In the suit, Watson is claiming that he faced age discrimination while attempting to buy a .22-caliber Ruger rifle on February 24 at Medford at Field & Stream, which is owned by Dick's Sporting Goods. This all happened four days before the announcement that the company, along with mega retailer Walmart, will stop selling to anyone under 21 years of age. 

"He was really just trying to buy a rifle," Watson's lawyer said to The Oregonian, clarifying that his client is not a part of an organized movement against retailers that have tightened policies on gun sales. "He didn’t know about the policy when he went into" Field & Stream.

Watson tried to buy a gun again, this time on Saturday at the Grand Pass Walmart, and was again told no, according to his lawsuit. However, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove defended the retailer's new policy. 

"In light of recent events, we reviewed our policy on firearm sales," Hargrove said in a statement to The Oregonian. "As a result, we raised the age restriction for the purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age. We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it. While we haven’t seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court."

Watson's lawsuit is seeking legal injunctions that will order retailers "to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18,19, and 20-year-old customers at all Oregon locations," according to USA Today. The suit is also seeking unspecified punitive damages because of "the willful nature of the discrimination."

[Photo: Dick's Sporting Goods/Facebook]

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