Man Claims Dick’s, Walmart ‘Discriminated’ Against Him Over Gun Policy

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The 20-year-old claims in his lawsuits that he was discriminated against while trying to purchase a rifle at different Dick's and Walmart locations in Oregon.

A 20-year-old Oregonian is suing companies that changed their gun policies because they won’t sell him a rifle.

Tyler Watson, 20, is allowed to purchase shotguns and rifles under Oregon law. But after the deadly Parkland, Florida, shooting, companies such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods changed their policies so that nobody under the age of 21 could purchase their rifles.

As private entities, these companies have the right to change their policies at any given time. It’s up to consumers to choose to either accept and respect it or take their business elsewhere, boycotting the companies for not agreeing with their views. But to Watson, the fact both of these retailers have refused to sell him rifles is unacceptable.

In the two lawsuits Watson filed against Dick’s and Walmart, documents claim that the retailers discriminated against him because of his age. The incidents allegedly happened on Feb. 24, when a Dick’s store in Medford refused to sell him a .22-caliber Ruger rifle, and on March 3, when the Grants Pass Walmart also refused to sell him a gun.

According to the suit, Watson wants the state of Oregon to force these stores to do business with him and to “stop unlawfully discriminating against 18, 19, and 20-year-old customers at all Oregon locations.”

"He was really just trying to buy a rifle," attorney Max Whittington said.

While the 20-year-old claims the first incident happened on Feb. 24, the gun policies changed on Feb. 28. Still, we’re unsure whether he was aware of the policy change when he filed the lawsuits.

Despite the legal actions, Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove confirmed that the retailer is not planning to change its policy after implementing the age restrictions.

"We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it," Hargrove said. "While we haven't seen the complaint, we will respond as appropriate with the court."                      

Regardless of how Watson felt, even if he truly felt discriminated against, it’s simply wrong to try to force a company to break its own gun policy.

Instead of filing these lawsuits, Watson should have respected Walmart and Dick's by simply going to another store or waiting until he reached his 21st birthday.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Regis Duvignau

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