March 1 (UPI) — Walmart announced Wednesday it will raise the age restriction to purchase a firearm to 21 following the South Florida school shooting that killed 14 students and three teachers.
The retailer said it will update its processes to reflect the new restrictions for the purchase of firearms and ammunition as quickly as possible after reviewing its firearm policy “in light of recent events.”
Walmart also will remove non-lethal airsoft guns and toys and other items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.
“Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way,” the company said.
Walmart noted it ended sales of “modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15” in 2015 and does not sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories.
Dick’s Sporting Goods also announced it will stop selling assault-style rifles and raise the age restriction for purchasing firearms.
The sporting goods chain said it will no longer sell firearms to anyone under the age of 21, and will stop selling high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
“Based on what’s happened and looking at those kids and those parents, it moved us all unimaginably,” Dick’s Chairman and CEO Edward Stack told ABC News, referring to the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Dick’s said in a statement it was “deeply disturbed and saddened” by the shooting and said “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
“We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens,” the statement said. “But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America — our kids.”
Stack called on elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and regulations, including banning assault-style firearms, raising the minimum buying age, requiring universal background checks and closing private sale and gun show loopholes that waive background checks.
“Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct — but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it,” Stack said.
Authorities said the accused Parkland gunman bought a firearm at Dick’s last year — but it was not used in the shooting.
Dick’s move follows those of other companies like MetLife and Best Western, which have cut ties with the National Rifle Association in response to the shooting.
Other companies, like FedEx, refused to end discount programs and business ties with the NRA.