Walmart has joined with Dick's Sporting Goods in taking steps to clamp down on the sale of firearms at its stores. In a statement issued Wednesday, Walmart announced that, "in light of recent events," it has decided to raise the age restriction for purchasing both firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age. It will also scrub all online items, including toys, that resemble "assault-style rifles."
In the announcement, Walmart notes that it stopped selling AR-15s in 2015 and goes "beyond" federal law in its background checks policy, but now feels that it must take further steps to be a "responsible seller of firearms." The company will no longer sell guns or ammo to anyone under 21 and will remove anything from its website "resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys."
Here's the full statement:
In light of recent events, we’ve taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearm sales. Going forward, we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age. We will update our processes as quickly as possible to implement this change.
In 2015, Walmart ended sales of modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15. We also do not sell handguns, except in Alaska where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers. Additionally, we do not sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories. We have a process to monitor our eCommerce marketplace and ensure our policies are applied.
We take seriously our 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.
We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style 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.
In a press release earlier the same day, Dick's Sporting Goods announced similar changes to its firearms policies, including raising the age restriction to 21 and no longer selling "assault-style rifles" at its 35 Field & Streams stores. Dick's stopped selling "modern sporting rifles" at its main stores after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, which the company notes in its press release. It also will no longer sell high-capacity magazines.
Below is the announcement of its policy changes, followed by a statement declaring that "thoughts and prayers are not enough":
The policy changes come amid increased pressure from gun control activists to restrict access to guns, particularly AR-15s, in response to the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14.