Walmart Raises MInimum Firearm and Ammo Purchase Age to 21

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A demonstrator holds up a sign reading 'Protect Kids, Not Guns' while protesting gun violence outside the White House on Wednesday, Feb. 21, following the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.
A demonstrator holds up a sign reading 'Protect Kids, Not Guns' while protesting gun violence outside the White House on Wednesday, Feb. 21, following the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The biggest U.S. retailer will raise its minimum age restriction for purchase of any firearms and ammunition to 21, following similar moves by Dick's Sporting Goods.

Dick's removed assault-style rifles from its namesake stores following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but kept selling them in its Field & Stream stores. On Wednesday, it said it would stop selling such guns at any of its stores and raised the minimum age for buying guns and ammunition to 21.

Walmart in 2015 ended sales of "modern sporting rifles," including the AR-15 model that was used in the mass murder of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, setting off impassioned calls for stricter U.S. gun laws. President Donald Trump broke with his National Rifle Association backers to call for a minimum age of 21 to purchase firearms earlier this week.

Walmart in a statement pointed out it also doesn't sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories, or handguns except in Alaska. The giant retailer also said it would remove items from its website resembling assault rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.

"Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way," Walmart said in a statement. The company said it goes beyond federal law in requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing firearms, even if the process extends beyond the three business days after which sales are legally permitted.

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