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What gun dealers need to know about age-discrimination laws

Gun Laws, Politics & 2nd Amendment, Product & Industry News, Second Amendment


The NSSF warned gun dealers about potential legal ramifications for banning rifle sales to customers under 21. (Photo: Ruger/Facebook)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation warned federally-licensed gun dealers considering limiting rifle sales to customers under 21 may face expensive legal action as a result.

The foundation represents 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. In its fact sheet published Thursday, NSSF said many state and local governments adhere to “public accommodation” statutes barring age-based discrimination — which is why new corporate policies at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, for example, have already spawned lawsuits in Oregon.

“NSSF respects the right of individual businesses to make their own decisions about what is appropriate for their business,” the organization said. “However, in making the decision to refuse to sell to consumers based solely on their age, FFLs need to be aware that such a policy may violate state or local laws barring age discrimination and potentially subject them to civil lawsuits or civil enforcement actions.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods led a bandwagon of corporate backlash against “assault-style” rifles last week, announcing its decision to pull the firearms from all of its stores, including more than 30 Field and Stream locations. Remaining rifles would not be sold to anyone under 21, Chief Executive Officer Edward Stack announced last week.

“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again,” Stack said. “They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.”

Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean followed suit. The retailers’ voluntary policy change came after congressional leaders and the president, himself, floated the proposal as a reaction to the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida. The accused gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, murdered 17 former classmates and teachers with an AR-15, prompting many in favor of tougher gun laws to question why a teenager could buy a semiautomatic rifle.

Gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, oppose the idea as discriminatory, effectively banning gun owners aged 18 to 20 from exercising their constitutional right.

The NSSF warns without comparable state or federal law restricting rifle sales based on age, gun dealers who willfully implement such rules “may be unwittingly opening themselves up to litigation and potential liability.”

Nine states enacted such age-based protections: Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee. Washington D.C. also bans age-discrimination policies, as well as local governments in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City. State government entities, including the Attorney General, in Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia may also take legal action against any retailers engaging in age-based discrimination.



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30 Comments

  1. You cannot be 1/2 an adult. If you cannot buy a rifle, you cannot be in the military,period. At 18 you can join the military and take a plane and bomb someone to smithereens but you can’t but a rifle ? All this feel good legislation does is take the 2nd amendment rights from legal law abiding citizens. Criminals and crazies do not obey laws(Chicago?)

    1. Exactly! What is even more disturbing is Florida’s creation of a gun free zone among 18-21 year olds living as adults on their own. Young women are the most vulnerable to predator criminals…murder, rape, theft. Now, Florida has set them up (as well as young men) as soft targets for attackers. Women have not been school or mass shooters!
      Bad enough that the legal age for a conceal carry is age limited….now, they cannot have self defense in their homes and apartments. Example: A young couple with a child…..he is serving in the military, she cannot purchase home defense weapon to protect her and her child while he is away risking his life for the country. This is so unconstitutional. If you are a legal adult you have a right to bear arms. This moronic bunch of legislators assume this age group is living in mommy’s basement until 26. Not all 18-21 are useless deadbeats, most have to go out on their own and be self sufficient.

    2. Exactly true. How is it that you can enter the military at 18, be handed a FULLY automatic weapon and put your life on the line for your country yet not be able to purchase a SEMI automatic weapon for yourself? As Odumbo put it, “the greatest threat to our country is returning vets”….Wha, huh? Saw an awesome statement today. Here it is: We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. I have to laugh at the endless morons having NOT A CLUE about that which they try to ban. Interchanging magazines and clips, having NO clue the former is reloadable the latter not so much. Talking about ghost guns, having no clue what it is. Saying it can fire 30 rounds per second. NO IT DOES NOT (Deleon from CA). Remember Tucker Carlson asking the congresswoman what a muzzle break was, she said it was something that goes over your shoulder!!!! The list goes on and on, they have zero idea what they’re even talking about. Micheal, the moron, Bloomberg saying you can buy a handgun that only shoots one round/trigger pull, but the AR-15 just shoots and shoots and shoots. NO IT DOES NOT you idiot. How can you possibly enact “common sense” solutions when you have NO idea of your subject matter??? Seems “common sense” would first tell you to do some friggin research so when you open your pie hole you don’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that which we were already thinking.

  2. This country is now full of “do gooder ” nuts. We are not going to survive this influx of damned fools. An 18 – 20 year old is asked to serve in the United States military and give his/her life if necessary to protect the lives of these gutless fools but cannot buy a personal weapon because they aren’t “mature enough” to do so? I am a 75 year old Air Force veteran and I obviously have lived too long when I see my country full of these gun control and anti-rights fools. Please leave—all of you. You have no right to live here with your self-righteous lives!

    1. Thank you for your service Sir,I agree totally.My Father(now 95 yrs.old)was a Navy Fighter Pilot in WWII.At age 19 he was in possession and control of a Grumman Hellcat fighter plane with eight .50 cal.machine guns,eight air to surface rockets and a bomb.Oh did I mention taking off and landing from an aircraft carrier ?

  3. I believe if you are old enough to vote. You are old enough to drink, buy a firearm, buy ammunition. If you are responsible enough to vote. Think about it.

  4. Stack said. “They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.” Gee is this like imprisoning one innocent man so guilty can be imprisoned also? Silly me, I thought is was the other way around. This sounds unamerican to me and if Mr. Stack wish to give up his rights that’s OK, but he is NOT giving up MY rights for me, ever! No more shopping at Dicks.

    1. So when the FBI fail, local police fail and school guidance councilors fail……………blame EVERYBODY else.
      Some logic, eh?

      1. No, they blamed the gun instead, to deflect attention from themselves. It doesn’t fit the narrative that guns aren’t necessary in our society and should be banned, the authorities will protect you. That was shown to be totally wrong in the case of the FL shooting.

        1. Don’t forget either that in NY the police “are not there for your protection”, they are there FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE STATE!

  5. Something how in the name of our safety the Gov. keeps chipping away at our 2nd Amendment rights when the problem was the FBI, the local law and one of the main problems, the lack of parenting and the brainwashing from our school systems! And why has no one talked about the Sheriff of FL. and his ties to islam with his top officer, Nezar Hamze (MUSLIM) and their ties to a certain Mosque! It’s sad to think that this was allowed to happen that cost 17 lives, all for GUN CONTROL!!

  6. All NRA members ought to go to these stores FILL UP A CART and then get to the check out and leave it with some lame excuse and also be sure to wear NRA hat – shirt or what ever – this way we will boycott them and they will take notice of the NRA.

  7. Any Law Bidding Citizen 18 – 21 should be able to buy a Gun or Rifle. Passing the law to 21 is not going to stop people from commit a crime. That means that any male or female under 21, that enter the military should be able to have a gun?
    The problem is the 3 day waiting period when first buying (to short of a Background Check) – A B/check should be at least one Month with input from other law enforcement and Mental agencies). No Automatic Weapons should be sold to Non-Military/Law Enforcement citizens.
    Firstly – The AR-15 was originally built as a Semi-Automatic Hunting Rifle in the 50s – Colt, in 1959, bought the rights to it from the originator Armalite Rifles, redesigned the internal mechanism to make it an Automatic Weapon. AR does not stand for Automatic Rifle, it stands fro the company who designed it Armalite Rifles!!!!
    By the way, check past history on shooters and you will find that most were Democrats and over 21…. So if you want to have gun control – Don’t let any Democrat be able to purchase a Gun or Rifle.. Problem solved..
    I rest my case…

    1. When police stop you on the side of the road they can get a complete profile in under 10 minutes.
      3 days is MORE than adequate to raise any red flags on a gun purchase…………..IF the FBI’s NCIB program was working as they claimed.

    2. The late Col Jeff Cooper, handgun expert and Gunsite Academy founder, remarked in 1959: “Killing is a matter of will, not means, You cannot control the act by passing laws to control the means.” But, then, we waste of breaths and heartbeats thinking logically and rationally when the anti-gunners just want people control and really only think of gun crime victims a convenient tool.

  8. I was drafted in 1969, at age 19, to fight in the Vietnam conflict. If the government establishes the age of 21years old to purchase any firearm, then change the signing up with the selective service for men and women to 21 years old.

    Bob Blandford

  9. First, the Second Amendment is one of the First 10 Amendments called the Bill of Rights. These are Unalienable Rights that are granted by GOD upon Mankind, and by Nature, hence the term, “Natural Law” of Self Defense. The Second Amendment guarantees that the people have in their possession the means to defend their other rights of Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, not having to quarter Troops in their homes, the Fourth Amendment which requires a Warrant for the Police to enter a home, or other type of structure, and the Fifth Amendment, which states that the Accused can keep silent, while having an Attorney provided for his Counsel, as the State is forced to make its case a g ain’t someone believed to be Innocent until proven Guilty. These First 10 Amendments cannot be Legislated away, no matter how badly the rabid Liberals, and Communists want to do so.

    Next, as is found in the United States Code, all men aged 17 to 45 are already members of the Unorganized Militia, as well as those Military Veterans, formally Discharged from the Service are also members of the Unorganized Militia. This is in keeping that the Founding Fathers wanted equipment always arms in the hands of the people of each Free State in the Union to have the means to quell Insurrections against the Republic, to fight any installation of a Tyrannical Government, and repel Foreign invasions, as a last line of defense for the Nation. In short, it is illegal to disarm the Militia, which are the people at large.

    Now, if Uncle Scam wants to push this issue, then no men aged 18 to 20 years old should register for Selective Service, since doing so could be used to Draft them into the Military, and learn to use, and carry, weapons even more powerful than simple Semi-Automatic AR-15s. I am sure that teenagers who can learn to drive, and get a Driver’s license, should then be not allowed to do so any longer, due to their higher instances of car accidents, speeding, and DWI arrests. Let’s see if the Automobile Industry, Car Dealerships, Insurance Companies, as well as the Tire Companies, Auto Parts Stores, and Oil Companies would like that idea as legislation. I’m betting no.

    Also, with the latest Truck attacks in England, France, and New York City, one has to ask where are all the Politicians screaming about, and demanding tougher Car and Truck legislation? Why is no one asking for banning Toyota Pick-up trucks, or denouncing Home Depot for renting the truck that ran 25 people down, killing eight of their people, in Battery Park, New York City by an imported Jihadi, that this same City, and a large portion of its diluted residents, want these Killers to continue to come into their Country, and City, in general? Why hasn’t any Corporation decided to cut their ties to the AAA, which provides road maps, vacation guides, Automotive Driving Safety tips, and Driving Classes for Point Reduction, and Car Insurance Reductions, as well? This is parallel to what the NRA does for responsible gun owners. They provide Firearms and Safety Training Classes, have actual Shooting Competitions, provide Insurance to members, and travel and Hotel and Motel discounts to members, as well. When they talk about “Empowering Women” on the Lunatic Left Wing fringe, they do not include the one item that equalizes a woman with her bigger, stronger male attacker, which is her gun. With her gun she can protect herself, and her children from predatory rapists, and killers, like the mother, and her two daughters who were raped and killed, while her Doctor husband was beaten, tighed up, and he was thrown down a flight of stairs, to his basement, in Connecticut. I would bet that he wished he had a gun that night.

    This should be all the proof that you need that Liberals are deranged people. They do not have the ability to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, and by not doing so, bring a great burden upon Society with their fantasies of what a Society should be. Well, we would not fly an Airplane with a Pilot who has been treated in a Mental Institution, so then why put the same types of people in Political Office, or in charge of our Schools? That really is madness.

  10. I have to agree that if you are old enough to vote and enter the military where you will be trained to be a killer you should be able to buy a rifle. I say we ban the violent video games that influence the minds of our children who play them for hours on end. Make the promotion, production, sales and possession of these games a felony and see what happens when their rights are stripped away. I’m sure there will be a different reaction, especially from the kids who are so vocal about gun control, when it starts to affect them.

  11. Did any one blame the rifle when Pres. Kennedy was shot? NO!! Was anything said about the University of Texas tower rifle that killed 17, and wounded 34(not sure of the numbers)? NO!!! Come on people. It is not the weapon! A gun cannot kill unless someone is pulling the trigger. It seems that we have a big group of stupid people trying to make stupid laws, and decisions.

  12. Liberalism IS a mental disorder and time and time again we find that if you give them an inch they will take a mile and only hurt responsible gun owners. Every time we let them be part of writing law on say combat type weapons the write in a general statement about “all semi-auto” or other lines to restrict s all.

  13. They want our guns because through free open media like the internet people are waking up to the fact our government and the NON Federal reserve have been stealing our wealth and creating wars funded by big banks to enrich themselves. Only by being armed can we defend ourselves from total dictatorship. We’ve been lied to in a million ways and the corrupt media is losing control of the narrative. Look for a much bigger push to disarm us. People are starting to ask why politicians and bankers don’t go to prison for major law breaking but we go to jail for almost anything. We are no longer free.

  14. Well, something this all Doesn’t say ….. It says to Buy A Gun (they mean from a licensed dealer I take it) ….. 21 or older in age …. well, a parent or anyone ‘old enough’ could buy it and “gift it” to a individual (son, daughter, niece, nephew, etc.) and the ‘under 21’ didn’t actually buy it themselves! …. and it doesn’t say anything about borrowing and / or shooting one IF under the age of 21 ….. So in all reality this “Under 21 of age to BUY a gun is a JOKE” period! … The Law, if passed, don’t mean squat! …… I too am so tired of the anti-gun zealots ….. Ignorant people they are !!!!

  15. This is like the controversy during the Viet Nam era. I was 18 in country, got back to the world at 19 and could not buy a beer, or vote even after a year in the hostile fire zone. The same arguments can be made for buying a gun now.
    I would like to see how many of the elected government officials remain in office if this kind of “stupidity” remains. The thing that needs to happen is to throw out all the gun laws and put into place ways to identify and help people with potential mental health issues that need help. Part of this problem is that we closed down all the good and bad mental hospitals and put every person in them on the streets to be, homeless or persons contributing to nothing positive in society. How many of those ex-patients have become active enough in their own health well being that they had/have become productive members of society. Let’s give the help and resources to the people that need them, not the law abiding gun owners.

  16. the democrats want no guns for us so they can control us .they don’t care about victims. they want control. total control.

  17. Civil Rights Actions, are a game that any number of offended citizens can play, as with suits brought brought by people having suffered age based discrimination. This is something that any number of people and corporations ignore at their peril. Be really interesting to see how this sort of thing works out, as it seems that such actions are likely to become much more common than they have been. In addition, existing laws amongst the several states could well be a giant thorn in the hands or the feet of some, a well deserved thorn.

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