Earlier this week, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it will no longer sell AR-15 style and semi-automatic rifles.  This announcement seems a bit cynical given that Dick’s stopped selling AR-15 style and semi-automatic rifles six years ago, though its affiliate Field & Stream had returned to selling them five years ago.  As of this week’s announcement, Field & Stream’s 35 stores will no longer carry these rifles.

Dick’s did announce something new, though:  they are imposing their own age limit on gun purchasers.  Regardless of state or federal law, Dick’s set its own age requirement for the purchase of firearms at 21.  Not to be outdone, Walmart soon followed suit, as did Kroger’s.

The Washington Post reports:

Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer sell assault-style firearms, will ban high-capacity magazines and will not sell any guns to people younger than 21, the company announced Wednesday, a significant move for the retail giant in the midst of renewed calls for national gun reform.

Chief executive Edward W. Stack made the announcement during an appearance on “Good Morning America”, as well as through a company statement that said “thoughts and prayers are not enough” in the wake of America’s latest mass shooting. Two weeks ago, a gunman killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, in Parkland, Fla., with an AR-15 that was legally purchased. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, bought a shotgun from a Dick’s store in November, Stack said during the television interview.

Although the weapon purchased at the Dick’s outlet was not the one used in the massacre, Stack said his company was moved to act.

“We did everything by the book, and we did everything that the law required, and he was still able to buy a gun,” Stack told host George Stephanopoulos.

Walmart has jumped on minimum age requirement and has also vowed to stop selling toys that resemble assault rifles.

NPR reports:

Walmart, which ended sales of modern sporting rifles such as AR-15s in 2015, has announced that it is raising the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21. The company notes that it does not sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories.

Walmart is also removing items from its website “resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys” — like the air gun Tamir Rice was playing with when he was shot by a Cleveland police officer who thought the 12-year-old was armed.

It’s not clear whether or not the decision to raise the age limit for the purchase of firearms will stand up in court.

The New York Times reports:

Legal experts said they saw no likely challenges to Dick’s decision to stop selling assault-style rifles. But the decision to stop selling weapons to anyone under 21, however, could be tested in court.

Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the School of Law of the University of California, Los Angeles, said Dick’s could be challenged in lawsuits claiming a violation of laws that bar age discrimination. Although federal civil rights laws do not apply, some states, including New York, prohibit businesses from denying goods and services on the basis of age.

“Don’t be surprised if an aggressive attorney general of a gun-friendly state brings an age-discrimination claim against Dick’s,” Professor Winkler wrote in an email response to questions.

According to Judge Napolitano, an example of one state in which such a suit could be filed is New Jersey.

Watch:

Not only has Dick’s made these news rules, but they are also stepping into the political debate about guns by petitioning elected officials to enact “common sense gun reform.”

One (now former) Dick’s employee from Lincoln, Nebraska quit his job in protest of these new policies.

The Washington Examiner reports:

20-year-old Alexander DeGarmo has worked at the Dick’s Sporting Goods in Lincoln, Neb., for six months, but abruptly resigned this week after the store announced they would no longer sell firearms to individuals under 21 following the Parkland, Fla., shooting.

“I believe it is morally and constitutionally wrong to infringe upon the rights of law abiding citizens in any way, and I will not work for a company that pushes for the restriction of the Second Amendment,” he wrote in his resignation letter which he posted to Facebook.

. . . .  DeGarmo said his resignation letter was well-received.

“The management at my store was very understanding and respected that I am standing up for what I believe in.”

He also made sure to praise his former co-workers in his resignation letter.

“My coworkers and management at store 1244 were always of the highest standing and quality, I have no complaints about their work ethic or moral standing,” he wrote.

DeGarmo plans to spend his new-found free time working more with the Second Amendment Institute and on political campaigns that represent his values.

DeGarmo is not alone in his protest.  Calls for a boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods have flooded Facebook and Twitter.

[Featured image via Twitter]