(CBS Local) — A 20-year-old man in Oregon is suing Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart over their new gun policies after the stores refused to sell him a rifle.
Tyler Watson filed the lawsuit on March 5 and claims both stores refused to sell him a firearm despite Oregon law allowing state residents to buy shotguns or rifles at age 18. Field & Stream, a sporting goods store owned by Dick’s, reportedly refused to sell the 20-year-old a weapon on Feb. 24. The incident took place four days before Dick’s and Walmart publicly announced they were changing their store age limit to 21 for buying all weapons on Feb. 28.
Watson was also turned away by a local Walmart on March 3 however, the lawsuit claims the store’s age restriction still violates state law prohibiting age discrimination. “In light of recent events, we reviewed our policy on firearm sales. As a result, We raised the age restriction for the purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove told The Oregonian. “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 complaint requests that judges force the two retailers “to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18, 19, and 20 year-old customers at all Oregon locations.” The young man’s lawyer says Watson isn’t part of any pro-gun movement to oppose stricter gun laws. “He was really just trying to buy a rifle,” attorney Max Whittington said.
The disputed gun policies were put into effect two weeks after the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. 17 people were killed and 14 were injured by 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz, who used an AR-15 assault rifle during the Feb. 14 massacre.