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Dick's and Walmart Wouldn't Sell Him a Gun. Now He's Suing

20-year-old man says chains are discriminating against potential gun buyers under 21
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 6, 2018 12:13 PM CST
Dick's and Walmart Wouldn't Sell Him a Gun. Now He's Suing
This photo from Thursday shows a Dick's Sporting Goods sign at one of the chain's stores.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

A 20-year-old Oregon man filed suit Monday claiming Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart discriminated against him when they refused to sell him a rifle. The move comes after Dick's and Walmart restricted gun sales to adults 21 and older in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre. The lawsuits, believed to be the first filed over the new gun policies, claim that a store owned by Dick's Sporting Goods in Medford refused to sell Tyler Watson a .22-caliber Ruger rifle on Feb. 24, and that a Walmart in Grants Pass refused to sell him a gun on March 3. Oregon law allows residents to buy shotguns or rifles starting at age 18, per the AP.

It's not clear if Watson knew at that point of the restrictions. "He was really just trying to buy a rifle," his attorney says. Watson is asking judges to force Dick's and Walmart "to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18-, 19-, and 20 year-old customers at all Oregon locations." Additionally, he's asking for unspecified punitive damages. A Walmart spokesman says the retailer plans to defend the new policy. "We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it," he says. "While we haven't seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court." A representative from Dick's hasn't responded to a request for comment. (Oregon has another new gun rule in place.)

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