The Bucknellian

Retailers raising minimum age to purchase weapons: a step in the right direction

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Graphic by Jared Shapiro

Evan Castillo, Contributing Writer

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The Kroger Company has joined Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods in banning in-store gun sales to those under 21 years old. Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer, the United States’ largest supermarket chain by revenue, said that it made its decision in direct response to the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Dick’s is immediately halting the sale of all assault-style rifles as well as high-capacity magazines. Walmart went even further with its store-wide gun purge, stating that it will no longer sell any items that are similar to assault-style rifles. This includes ending the sale of airguns and toy guns.

Currently, federal law permits those 18 years and older to purchase semi-automatic rifles and other firearms; however, one must be 21 and older in order to purchase a handgun. In Oregon, age statutes prohibit retailers from discriminating against those who are above 18 years old.

Walmart and Dick’s have already seen age discrimination lawsuits in Oregon, where a 20-year-old man is filing discrimination charges against the retailers for not selling him a firearm. Nevertheless, Oregon has made an exception to this age law when it pertains to alcohol and marijuana, meaning that an individual must still be 21 years old to purchase these substances. This exception has yet to extend to guns, but it is very possible that Oregon can revisit this statute and add it to current law.

It is both logical and admirable that retailers have raised their minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 in response to the Parkland school shooting. The NRA has a strong foothold in the capitol, so it is unlikely the age limit to purchase a gun in the United States will be raised to 21. Thus, Kroger, Walmart, and Dick’s have sacrificed sales and revenue in order to maintain their ethics and do their part to prevent any further tragic shootings.

Instead of going through Washington, some retailers and arms dealers are banding together to slow down the sale of guns and make the purchase of guns more difficult. However, many retailers do not want to slow down their businesses and cut their profits in the name of politics. Warren Buffett echoed this sentiment when he stated after the Parkland shooting that Berkshire Hathaway will not shy away from investing in companies that deal firearms, making it clear he would not sacrifice his or his clients’ financial well-being for the sake of morals and politics.

The initiative to raise the age to purchase guns by Dick’s, Walmart, and the Kroger Company represents a good first step in the ongoing fight for gun control in the United States. These retailers are showing the country how it can circumvent the government and still create meaningful change. I expect more retailers to follow suit and go even further to halt the sale of all guns in their store locations. Retailers have the ability to show Washington’s gun lobby and the gun industry their power over gun control by taking matters into their own hands, which should ultimately pressure Congress to enact tougher gun laws.

 

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Retailers raising minimum age to purchase weapons: a step in the right direction