Walmart to Raise Age Restriction to 21 for Gun Purchases
Walmart said yesterday that it's raising its age restriction to 21 for firearm and ammunition purchases. In a statement published on its website yesterday, the retailer said it made the decision in light of recent events and will try to implement this change "as quickly as possible." Walmart also pointed out that in 2015 it ended sales of certain sporting rifles like the AR-15. The company also said it doesn't sell accessories like bump stocks or high-capacity magazines, and that it does not sell handguns, except in Alaska, "where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers." Walmart also noted that it has a process in place to monitor its e-commerce marketplace and ensure its policies are applied, and that it takes seriously its "obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm. The law would allow the sale of a firearm if no response to a background check request has been received within three business days, but our policy prohibits the sale until an approval is given." Walmart also said it's removing items resembling assault-style rifles like toys from its website. "Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way."
Total Retail's Take: Walmart joins other retailers that are making the decision to stop selling assault-style rifles and other firearms after the events in Parkland, Fla., last month. Grocery chain Kroger, for example, announced at press time that it will no longer sell guns to buyers under 21 at its Fred Meyer stores. Dick's Sporting Goods also vowed Wednesday that it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores. The retailer said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws. In addition, AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles were to be removed from its stores and websites immediately. Walmart, Kroger and other retailers, however, could face backlash for taking a stand on the divisive issue of gun control.
To wit: A letter from Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack announcing the measure on Facebook has already drawn thousands of comments, including customers threatening to boycott the company. "I will never set foot in your store again," one commenter said. #BoycottDicksSportingGoods also became a trending topic on Twitter as social media users accused Dick's of being against the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, people across the U.S. are planning to boycott Apple and Amazon.com products and services today over their relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA). These consumers are upset that Apple and Amazon still offer access to the NRA TV streaming-video channel on their services. NRA TV is a free online-only channel with content from the gun lobbyist.