Man Suing Dick’s Sporting Goods For Denying Him the Right to Purchase a Rifle… Because He’s 20
Public Accommodations Laws Strike Back: We have to sell cakes, they have to sell guns
The plaintiff, Tyler Watson, claims he faced “Unlawful Age Discrimination.”
Watson attempted to buy the rifle “on or about February 24” at a Medford, Oregon, Field and Stream store. (Field and Stream is subsidiary of Dick’s.) Watson’s suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Oregon for the County of Jackson, says a store employee refused the purchase and indicated, “He would not sell [Watson] any firearm, including rifles and shotguns, or ammunition for a firearm, because [Watson] is under 21 years old.”
The employee referenced Dick’s recent policy shift, disallowing firearm sales to anyone under 21, and cited the policy as the reason for denying the sale.
Watson’s suit alleges that Dick’s policy violates Oregon law against age-based discrimination for people 18 years and older in places of public accommodations. State law includes prohibitions against discrimination in stores that are open to the general public.
Watson also filed a separate suit claiming a Walmart store in Josephine County, Oregon, discriminated against him by denying him a rifle sale “on or about March 3, 2018.” As with Dick’s, the Walmart employee at the gun counter allegedly told Watson that rifles and shotguns could not be sold to individuals under the age of 21. The employee indicated that ammunition for firearms could not be sold to anyone under 21 either.
In both suits Watson alleges that the defendants, Dick’s and Walmart, not only discriminated but “advertised … unlawful discriminatory policies by issuing a press release, and other materials, stating that [the defendants] will no longer sell any firearms or ammunition to any person under the age of 21.”