Gun Rights Advocates Take Aim At New Age Restrictions


As stores rush to impose a minimum age of 21 for gun purchases, some Second Amendment supporters say like-minded people should consider mounting legal challenges, saying the companies may have a hard time defending against claims of age discrimination for a core constitutional right.

Dick's Sporting Goods, Walmart, Kroger and other major national brands have announced they'll impose an age requirement in the wake of last month's shooting in Florida, in which police say 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz used a rifle he legally purchased.

Some legal analysts predicted the companies' policies would hold up, saying they have a right to refuse sales. But others say there's room for a challenge.

"If these billionaire corporate bullies are illegally discriminating against people based on their age, then maybe some 19- or 20-year-old law-abiding gun owners should sue them," said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group.

The FPC pointed to recent data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) saying more than one-third of the states in the country have public accommodation or civil rights laws that prohibit age-based discrimination.

Matthew Maruster, a firearms instructor from Ohio, said there could indeed be a "protected class" argument to be made for people ages 18-20 who can legally buy a gun but wouldn't be able to do so at those stores.

"I don't know if that's going to hold up in court," said Mr. Maruster, who has written about the constitutionality of private stores prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons where it's otherwise legal.

"You can't discriminate against someone based on their age," he said. "I think that would be the angle if someone would say 'Hey, I want to sue Dick's Sporting Goods because they're keeping me from being able to buy a gun based on my age.'"

He added, though, that an actual legal challenge could be an uphill battle, as courts have sided with private businesses in other similar cases - including a gun store in Florida that got an anti-discrimination suit tossed by a federal judge in 2015 after banning Muslims from the store.

The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had sued on civil rights grounds, but District Judge Beth Bloom said in her ruling that "there are simply no facts grounding the assertion that plaintiff and/or one of its constituents will be harmed."

Gun-rights groups, like the FPC and others, are at the very least vowing to make the companies pay a business price for the new restrictions.

"Part of what we want to tell Dick's Sporting Goods is 'good riddance,'" said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights. "They might as well fold their entire hunting and firearms sales down, as they're going to sink like a rock."

But the lawyer for Mr. Brown's group said the businesses are likely in the clear on legal and constitutional issues.

Federal age discrimination protections only relate to certain categories of commerce or employment, and generally only cover discriminatory practices against older people, said James Bardwell, NAGR's in-house counsel.

"Picking on 21-year-olds in any category of commerce is not prohibited by federal law," he said. "I have not reviewed the anti-discrimination laws of every state, but I have never heard of any state law that bars discrimination against young people - only old people."

Adam Winkler, a professor at the UCLA School of Law, agreed.

"There is no constitutional issue whatsoever," Mr. Winkler, who has written extensively on Second Amendment issues, said in an email. "The Constitution limits what government can do, not what a private business can do."

Federal law already prohibits federally licensed gun dealers from selling rifles and shotguns to people under the age of 18 and handguns to people under the age of 21.

Illinois and Hawaii are two states that have already passed their own laws banning people under 21 from buying certain kinds of rifles. Some federal lawmakers are now looking to pass similar legislation in Congress.

But police say that Mr. Cruz carried out his recent attack with an AR-15-style rifle he bought legally. Mr. Cruz also bought a shotgun at Dick's last year, though he did not use it in the Feb. 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, his old high school.

Dick's, Walmart, Kroger, and L.L. Bean - which also announced a new minimum age of 21 for gun purchases last week - did not respond to questions about the legality of the new age limits. They have cited the recent Parkland shooting as the impetus for the move.


More stored should follow this model. Ban Muslims from your place of business. Fine by me. That’s why I think that if a store really wants to ban people under 21 from buying a firearm…fine…but there can be no outrage when Muslims are banned from stores.


Absolutely nothing will happen.

Any new legislation will die in the senate with the obstructionist Democrats, my way or the highway approach to any legislation passed.

p.s. With immigration, gun reform is a great wedge issue for the upcoming elections.


Guns were NEVER the problem !!! Liberals and the media want us to believe raising the age a person can buy a gun can solve the problem , when the know mental health is the issue . We really need to enforce the hundreds of laws on the books today and follow a reasonable procedure on known troubled individuals and raise the punishment for FELONS carrying guns illegally . If you continue to look in the wrong DIRECTION you will never solve the problem and registered gun owners are NOT the problem !!!


Chicago-area officials trying to prevent funerals for gang members from turning into shootouts say the issue has gotten so far “out of control”
says the shootings have been escalating “over the last ten to 15 years from where it was not much of a problem… to now it occurs more frequently.”


There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. The U.S. population is 324,059,091 as of June 22, 2016. Do the math: 0.00925% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. Statistically speaking, this is insignificant! What is never told, however, is a breakdown of those 30,000 deaths, to put them in perspective as compared to other causes of death:

• 65% of those deaths are by suicide, which would never be prevented by gun laws.
• 15% are by law enforcement in the line of duty and justified.
• 17% are through criminal activity, gang and drug related or mentally ill persons – better known as gun violence.
• 3% are accidental discharge deaths.
So technically, “gun violence” is not 30,000 annually, but drops to 5,100. Still too many? Now lets look at how those deaths spanned across the nation.
• 480 homicides (9.4%) were in Chicago
• 344 homicides (6.7%) were in Baltimore
• 333 homicides (6.5%) were in Detroit
• 119 homicides (2.3%) were in Washington D.C. (a 54% increase over prior years)


Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

Perhaps it’s not about the guns after all and its really about the people.


Now convince Lindsey Graham the RINO …


Both parties will suffer???

In what world does that make sense.

James Madison, who drafted the Constitution, said the six-year term of senators was intended to ensure that the Senate proceeded “with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch [the House of Representatives].” While the news cycle changes daily, the issues addressed by our Congress should not.


This is the same a-hole that was ok with chain migration , so they can continue to bring 23 more deadbeats with them . I’m guessing he will run with crying Chuck next election !


I would love to see this make it to the supreme court and for Dicks to win. That would essentially overturn the private property edicts of the 1964 civil rights act and take the debate about denial of service out of the realm of the ‘artist’ (cake makers, photographers etc)…


I ran across this old forum discussion in the UK… My wife and I walk a lot and I was thinking about a quarterstaff… but

Follow the dialog to see how dismal it is…


And how would the UK deal with someone with martial arts training.

It could clearly be an offensive as well as a defensive weapon.


Supposedly if you affect only enough force to extract yourself from the problem, you are ok. If the attacking force increases or decreases against you, you are obliged to respond in kind (no ‘teaching him a lesson’. If I can remember what I read previously it goes something like this.

Walk away if you safely can and If you cannot walk away safely, only use as much force as will allow you to get away. If you cannot get away, use only as much force as is necessary to neutralize the threat because It is easier to justify an escalation in force than to justify robust force employed from the outset.


Your judgement is subjective and could be deemed incorrect by a court of law.

You break the persons leg and walk away may be deemed excessive as he was hurt, you were not.


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