Walmart announced on Wednesday that it is raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old, following suit after Dick's Sporting Goods did the same.
"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," reads a statement from the company.
Walmart announced that the firearm policy was changing "in light of recent events," presumably referring to the Parkland, Florida school shooting that took place on Valentine's Day. The confessed shooter, Nikolas Cruz, reportedly purchased the AR-15 assault rifle he used in the attack legally at the age of 18.
Since then, many Americans have been questioning whether the age threshold should be raised on guns, as well as the legality of assault weapons altogether. The people at Walmart appear to have heard those concerns, as the company also announced the removal of assault-style weapons from its inventory.
"We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including non-lethal airsoft guns and toys," the company said. "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 the statement, Walmart claimed that the company hasn't sold "modern sporting rifles" like the AR-15 since 2015. "We also do not sell handguns, except in Alaska where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers," the company said.
Walmart's announcement comes less than a day after similar news from Dick's Sporting Goods. The company, one of the biggest sports retailers in the country, announced on Wednesday morning that it would immediately end the sale of all assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. Dick's also raised the minimum age to 21 years old, regardless of state laws.
The company admitted that the move was a direct result of the tragic shooting in Parkland. Cruz took his legally purchased assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he had just been expelled less than a year previous, and took 17 lives. He is in jail without bond, awaiting trial for 17 charges of premeditated murder.
“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset. We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us,” Dick's CEO Edward Stack told The New Work Times. “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”
Stack admitted that shortly after the shooting, he had people scouring the company records for Cruz's name. They found that Cruz had bought a firearm from Dick's in November, though not the type he used for the massacre.
“But it came to us that we could have been a part of this story,’’ he said. “We said, ‘We don’t want to be a part of this any longer.”
Another shooting at a high school in Dalton, Georgia took place on Wednesday, adding fuel to the fiery national conversation surround gun control. This time, the shooter was a teacher, which called into question the strategy of arming teachers. Proponents of this idea include President Donald Trump.