Walmart To Raise Age Requirement To Buy Firearms And Ammunition

The retail giant said it's making changes to its gun sale policies "in light of recent events."
Walmart plans to require gun buyers be at least 21 years old.
Walmart plans to require gun buyers be at least 21 years old.
Michele Sandberg via Getty Images

Walmart has vowed to raise its age requirement to 21 years old for customers looking to purchase firearms or ammunition from their stores.

The retail giant decided to change its firearms policy “in light of recent events,” Walmart said in a statement to reporters on Wednesday.

In addition to the age requirement, Walmart will be removing from its website any items that resemble “assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys.”

“We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond Federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm,” the company’s statement read.

Walmart’s announcement comes two weeks after a gunman with an assault-style rifle opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen.

The horrific attack prompted another round of debates on common-sense gun laws in America. The survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting spent the last two weeks pressuring lawmakers and the National Rifle Association to take action against gun violence. To get their attention, the survivors, mostly students, maintained a steady presence in front of news cameras, organized nationwide school walkouts and staged protests in front of state capitols and the White House.

Before Walmart’s announcement, President Donald Trump met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the White House to discuss gun laws and school safety.

Though Trump spoke vaguely about his support of a number of different policies, the president urged lawmakers from both parties to write a “strong bill” that is “really strong on background checks.”

He also accused Republican lawmakers of being intimidated by the National Rifle Association after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) told him that a bill he co-wrote to strengthen background checks did not raise the age requirement for gun purchases from 18 to 21.

Trump told Toomey, “Because you’re afraid of the NRA, right?”

The president’s remarks were also directly at odds with some of the NRA’s positions: Trump said he wanted to ban bump stocks, an accessory that modifies guns to simulate automatic fire, and he insisted that police should be able to confiscate guns from people who may appear to be dangerous.

This article has been updated with information about the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and Trump’s comments on gun laws.

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