DICK’S Sporting Goods, Walmart sued for refusing rifle sale to Jackson County man

MEDFORD, Ore. – A local man is suing DICK’s Sporting Goods after the retailer allegedly refused to sell him a firearm because he is under the age of 21.

On February 28, DICK’S Sporting Goods said they’re no longer selling firearms or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21 at their Field and Stream stores following the Parkland, Florida shootings, where 17 people were killed. Walmart also made a similar decision

On March 5, Gold Hill resident Tyler Watson filed a lawsuit alleging the decisions on behalf of DICK’S Sporting Goods and Walmart was a violation of his Oregon civil rights.

According to an unlawful age discrimination complaint, Watson went to the Medford Field and Stream store on February 24 to buy a .22 caliber Ruger 10/22 rifle. When he asked to buy the rifle, a clerk informed him the store would not sell any firearm to anyone under 21 years old. Watson left the store without buying the rifle.

The suit against Walmart claims the retailer would not allow the 20-year-old to purchase a firearm as well.

The complaint against DICK’S Sporting Goods alleges the retailer is unlawfully discriminating against Watson because of his age in a violation of Oregon law, specifically Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 659A.403. That law states, with exceptions, states: “…all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age if the individual is of age, as described in this section, or older.”

The ORS above is the same one cited in a complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery accused of violating the rights of a same-sex couple by denying them service because of their sexual orientation. That business was fined $135,000 after an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling upheld a judgment against Sweet Cakes by Melissa’s owners.

Court documents also allege a violation of ORS 659A.409 on behalf of the two retailers. That law prohibits places of public accommodations from making notices that services will be withheld due to age, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

Watson’s complaint seeks injunctive relief requiring DICK’S and Walmart to stop unlawfully discriminating against 18, 19, and 20-year-old Oregonians. Punitive damages, reasonable costs, attorney fees and other reasonable relief is also sought.

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