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Can Gun Stores Refuse to Sell Rifles and Shotguns to Under-21-Year-Olds?

Depends on what state, city, and county they're in.

A student asked me over lunch: Some stores have announced that they won't sell rifles and shotguns to under-21-year-olds. Is that legal, given that federal law only limits sales of handguns to under-21-year-olds, and doesn't ban sales of long guns to 18-to-20-year-olds?

[1.] Stores' own age limits don't violate the Second Amendment, because the Second Amendment limits only the government, not private companies. Likewise for the Equal Protection Clause (plus the Equal Protection Clause generally doesn't forbid even governmental age classifications).

[2.] The federal Civil Rights Act doesn't cover retail stores, and doesn't cover age, so it doesn't bar such policies, either.

[3.] But about a third of all states ban discrimination based on age in places of public accommodation, and some of those statutes may well ban refusal to sell guns to 18-to-20-year-olds. These laws vary from state to state, so I can't speak to all of them; but the one I checked -- Connecticut (the alphabetically first on the list) -- does indeed seem to ban discrimination against 18-to-20-year-olds in retail sales, with no exception for guns.

[4.] Likewise, some cities and counties have similar ordinances (even if their states don't); two I found, for instance, are Madison, Wisconsin and Broward County, Florida. (I looked them up just because I remembered from other research that they have broad antidiscrimination ordinances.) Seattle, on the other hand, bans age discrimination, but apparently only against people 21 and above, again without regard to whether the store sells guns or anything else.

[5.] Of course, the state and local laws will only affect the stores' policies in those jurisdictions; a store could have a general nationwide policy of not selling some products to under-21-year-olds, but a different policy in those states that require equal treatment of 18-to-20-year-olds.

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  • Curly4||

    I think that we will soon find out! If a under 21 year old tries to buy a gun and it is legal to buy a gun and is not on the do not sell a gun to list and if a company refuses . . . That will be a law suite if there ever way there was one! Age discrimination and violation of the 2nd Amendment. Bring it on!!!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    That will be a law suite

    More like a law sweet for the plaintiff, am I right?

  • phattyboombatty||

    Really wish there was a way to "like" comments on this site. I love this one.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Your smile is my reward.

    *hugs*

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    #metoo

  • Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing||

    Pound me too?

  • Jerry B.||

    Or possibly you'll need a suite of lawyers by the time the case is finally decided.

  • R. K. Phillips||

    You'll probably need a suite in an old folks home before this case is decided.

  • Eugene Volokh||

    Curly4: Thanks for commenting, but did you have a chance to read the post?

  • Robin Littlefield||

    The 2nd Amendment is not triggered (sorry) because private retail establishments are not the government or government actors. The blog post says this.

  • Frank White||

    It's not a 2nd amendment lawsuit. Replace "18-20 year old customers" with "African American customers." See the lawsuit now?

  • Robin Littlefield||

    I was responding to the person who says that this IS a 2nd Amendment issue.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That's not a constitutional lawsuit either, it's statutory. Look at the 14th amendment, it doesn't apply to non-state actors, on it's face.

    In fact, Goldwater opposed the '64 civil rights act because he thought it unconstitutional, and I think he was right about that.

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    I doubt that anyone who supports this can rattle off the list of mass-murders committed by 18-20 year old adults (as defined by the FBI) using firearms.

    So I'll help:

    Columbine
    Sandy Hook
    Parkland

    Go back 30 years, or 50 years, and the answer is still the same.

    Four perpetrators in 50+ years. Two of which (Columbine), had handguns as well, which are flatly illegal for anyone under 21 (though they should not be).

    Walmart's stance on this matter might as well be, "We're ok with 18 - 20 year old adults being defenseless in their own homes, despite overwhelming statistical evidence that they are not a threat to the general public."

  • sweatingbanshee||

    Columbine shooters had a straw purchaser.

    Sandy Hook shooter stole the gun from his mother.

    So we have ONE mass shooting by someone under 21 who purchased his own weapon.

    It's a ridiculous law.

    Sadly, WV only prevents age discrimination against people over 40.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Sandy Hook shooter stole the gun from his mother.

    Ban moms.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    What would you ever do on a Saturday night?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Grandmas.

  • JesseAz||

    26 of the 27 most recent shooters grew up without a father in their life....

  • Absaroka||

    That's interesting. I recall a study from several years ago where the researcher was investigating guns and delinquent/at risk/whatever city kids. He first compared some metric of knowledge about guns to delinquency, and found a strong correlation. Then he asked where the knowledge came from, and found out that learning about guns from your father had a strong inverse correlation with delinquency, while learning about them from other delinquent kids had a strong positive correlation with problems.

    I suspect it isn't that learning about guns from your father has some prophylactic effect, but that learning about guns from your father means ... you have a father involved in your life, and that has a beneficial effect.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    That doesn't follow the lefty narrative, nothing to see here.

  • David Bremer||

    Mandate fathers. Call it a tax.

  • silver.||

    You know, I was thinking about this the day of the shooting. I'd like to see some further support for the numbers, but certainly my personal observations were that the news never mentions the fathers. Cursory research online finds Rick Santorum mentioning this a few weeks ago (and getting blasted for it) and not much else. I don't see why this is such a controversial topic. I thought we were supposed to be helping kids in broken homes not ignoring them.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Ban divorce

  • iowantwo||

    no-fault divorce was the leftists invention. Parkland is the result.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The nut that murdered Chris Kyle and another warrior was taken to a gun range and given a gun. The 21 age limit is just common sense and no one should oppose it.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The 21 age limit is just common sense and no one should oppose it.

    Common sense dictates the 21 age limit is completely arbitrary.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No, descent into mental illness in males begins around 17 to 25 so I actually think the better age limit is 25 but 21 is still better than 18. Also if you could quarantine males 18-25 from every society the crime rate would plummet. Young males are almost always the problem in every society.

  • KevinP||

    So we should raise the voting age to 25 then? We don't want problematic young males to exercise the franchise ...

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    That is the group of people that gave us President Obama!?! Heck in the Iowa caucus in 2008 they were letting 17 year olds vote! I support returning the age to vote to 21. I actually don't think college kids should vote in local elections and when I was that age I abstained from voting in local elections.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you send kids off to potentially die in combat, they are old enough to vote, buy a gun, buy alcohol, and enter into contracts.

  • Longtobefree||

    Does it matter to you that we no longer send kids off to potentially die in combat? The kids volunteer to be sent off to potentially die in combat. That bullshit argument was used when we had the draft. I would suggest, based on the history since the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, that it was not good for the country.

  • BYODB||

    Does it matter that an 18 year old can still join the military and be issued a gun by the government when that same 18 year old is considered essentially without autonomy in the civilian population?

    What is it about government oversight that makes an 18 year old suddenly able to be trusted with a firearm? Shouldn't you be concerned they would just shoot their own compatriots since they're too young and dumb to be given a gun?

    Also, for what's it's worth, there is still a draft it just hasn't been used in a minute. That's a pretty important difference I'd say.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    And yet they can't buy alcohol...states changed the alcohol age limit during the Reagan years. So obviously most Americans disagree with your comment.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    The states raised the drinking age when congress threatened to withhold highway funding. It was straightforward extortion. If that equates to most Americans disagreeing we'll have to agree to disagree.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The same people that vote for state legislators vote for US Congresspeople.

  • iowantwo||

    The legal drinking age is State jurisdiction. But the Feds threatened federal hwy $ if the States refused to raise the drinking age.

  • Rossami||

    re: "descent into mental illness in males begins around 17 to 25"

    No, it doesn't. And no actual psychologist will ever tell you so. Mental illness can begin at any age. Crime is highest in young males but that has nothing to do with mental illness.

    Having lied about your basic premise (and compounded those lies with irrational fantasies about irrelevant Obama-persecution), none of your conclusions pass muster.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No offense, but you are really stupid. Too bad for you you can't take a pill to stop being such a dumbass.

    "The first signs of severe mental illness often appear in adolescence and early adulthood, doctors say. Schizophrenia, for example, is usually diagnosed in men in their late teens to mid-20s, and in women about five years older."

    From PBS "a dangerous age for mental illness".

  • mad_kalak||

    Fatherless young males are almost always the problem in every society.

    FIFY

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I agree they are the biggest problem but even young males with fathers are a problem.

  • mad_kalak||

    If you look into it, you will see that the common thread all these mass shooters have, is that they were the product of single mothers.

    I am trying to understand, then, why you say young males are a problem, when young men are are also a necessary and vital component for the continuation of society. Indeed it would collapse without them, and quite rapidly, irrespective of their greater criminality when compared to women, because they bring so much more to the table. Whereas women may be biologically necessary for continuation of society, but the history of civilization prior to first wave feminism shows, not socially necessary for the continuation of a society.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I am saying we need to direct more resources to helping young men. We have had a war on boys for the last 30 years and liberals essentially want to castrate our young men with the #MeToo movement being the latest salvo in the liberals' war on boys.

  • mad_kalak||

    Thank you, I understand where you're coming from SC, I largely agree with the premise, just not exactly the way you were putting it.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Agreed.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Cremmington needs to go back and watch Otter's speech from animal House.
    Tho the ones causing problems are largely 18-25 yr old males, 18-25 yr old males largely aren't causing problems.

    Treat the problem - support for single parent lifestyles - not the symptoms.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    The nuclear family is a modern incarnation and boys did fine prior to the development of the nuclear family. Ironically there is nothing "traditional" about the nuclear family and the last two Democrat presidents didn't come from nuclear families.

  • mad_kalak||

    "Treat the problem - support for single parent lifestyles - not the symptoms."

    The perverse incentives of the welfare state, which were intended to be support for single parent lifestyles, have actually made it worse. Moynhan's Scissors and all that. If anything, you'd have to take a step backward in causality and come up with a policy, if there is one that would work, to keep parents together.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I agree, so a statistic that jumps out is that a very poor woman is less likely to have an abortion even though they often live very close to a Planned Parenthood clinic with free everything. The reason is obvious—having a baby with a man they barely know is financially beneficial to poor women because of welfare. The men get stuck with child support debt and pushed into the illegitimate economy. That said, that dynamic has more to do with the overall murder rate due to gang violence than these massacres by nuts.

  • JesseAz||

    What other features that correlate to gun crimes do you think we should ban? Or is it just biological gender? What about those who choose to alter their gender?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Men and women are exactly alike and everyone should get to choose their gender! Lol, you sound like a liberal snowflake!

  • R. K. Phillips||

    What about race? If we can use age, and sex, let's use race.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Giuliani did use race with stop and frisk and gun regulations in NYC in the 1990s and the murder rate plummeted...at least according to liberals.

  • susancol||

    Except when the 19 year old college student is living in Gainesville when Danny Rollins came to town. Or her ex-boyfriend threatens her, and her pro bono attorney has to inform her that, yes, she can get a restraining order, but that, alas, orders are made of paper and fists, knives, bricks and bullets go through paper.

    It's only folks that subscribe to the Evil Object Theory of Guns that can't admit there are legitimate reasons for firearms, many of which involve *saving* lives.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Who is paying for her tuition? Her parents could buy her a gun and quite frankly she should have informed her parents what was going on anyway.

  • Longtobefree||

    And then her parents become criminal straw purchasers if they actually give her the gun, or even ammunition. So how does owning a gun locked up in her parents house help her?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    No they haven't, I support 18 year olds keeping guns just not buying them.

  • BYODB||


    No they haven't, I support 18 year olds keeping guns just not buying them.

    Then you're an idiot, full stop.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    How do you justify states having the requirement that a person be 21 to get a concealed carry license?

  • Tionico||

    No, not at all. A "straw purchaser" is one who purchases a gun for someone under FEDERAL disability for POSSESSING that gun. State laws, or a retailer's restriction, are not FED disabilities, SO< parents can indeed purchase the gun from their frneindly neighbourhood FFL, then GIVE it to her. She can legally OWN it, but not under these twisted decisions, purchase it.

    Washington State, before Bloomie's new law, had an interesting situation.... it was legal for under 21 year olds to own or purchase handguns, but Fed Law prohibited 18 could purchase one from a private party, and often did. Bloomie's law effectiely changed the age for lawfully wning handguns in that state to 21. Sad... one of the six or so changes that bill made....

  • susancol||

    You must live in a different world than I do. The specific person that I was personally advising (pro bono) didn't have anyone else paying her tuition other than a merit scholarship. She had student loans and a job. This is not an uncommon situation for students at University of Florida or Santa Fe University (both in Gainesville, FL).

    Not everyone has parents who can or will help (or a helpful relationship with said parent) or who live in town and are able and willing to take on bodyguard duty. Want to pick another fantasy as to how the prohibition from firearms ownership for adults isn't harmful in the specific (common) examples I provided?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    I would support a judge stepping in to allow an 18 year old to get a gun and also have a state program to help her pay for training. I just want some roadblocks similar to how Republicans want abortion roadblocks for minors.

  • the original jack||

    because the right to keep and bear arms is the next door neighbor to the right to have an abortion in the Constitution, eh.

  • R. K. Phillips||

    Actually, the whole Rowe v. Wade is based on privacy, not abortion: the gov't has no business in your lady parts. Or man parts.

  • ThomasD||

    I agree there is an unenumerated right to privacy.

    Yet that that right can somehow eclipse the exercise of an enumerated right is sadly absurd, and is entirely indicative of a widely held belief that being armed is not actually a right held by all.

  • Tionico||

    18 year olds are NOT "minors". Try again?

    Further, on wht rational basis do you maintain, as it appears you do, that professional mandated training is the ONLY way one can acquire the safety habits and skills needed for proper handling of arms? Dad, Grandpa, cousins, school buddies, boyfirends, big brothers, big brothers of friends, a local gun club, volunteer programmes, even books and videos... only a lazy person cannot properly learn how to handle firearms. WHY is the standard assumption always a government fix? Or a government approved fix?

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    Common sense says that if 18-20 year old adults are prohibited by law from owning a firearm, then they'll make a fantastic demographic for criminals to specifically target.

    Want to rob, burgle, rape, murder, home-invade, or any other form of crime committed inside someone else's home?

    Target people in the 18-20 age bracket, because unless they are also a criminal, they won't have a firearm to stop you.

    Looks like your '...common sense and no one should oppose it' has a pretty valid reason for opposition after all.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Implicit in your argument is that 17 year olds are easy targets. So conservative hero George Zimmerman targeted a 17 year old knowing he would be unarmed and therefore an easy target??

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    17 year old minors are generally not legally allowed to live on their own.

    Next?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    17 year olds are on their own a lot throughout the day...so you think guns should be limited to the home?? Why are concealed weapons so popular if people don't think they have the right to defend themselves outside the home?

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    You can't refute my point so you continue to put forth strawman after strawman. I have never said that the 2A only applies inside the home.

    I am giving an EXAMPLE of a reason why your opinion regarding 'common sense and nobody should oppose it' is stupid, and absolutely worth opposing.

    Take a hike. I'm done wasting my time with someone who changes the subject every time their position gets trashed.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Lol, you are just an idiot that can't defend his position so you resort to ad hominem attacks. You can't defend the 21 year old age limit on concealed carry because it is a common sense provision based on sound reasoning. You on the other hand are dumbass loser that spouts nonsense.

  • Longtobefree||

    George Zimmerman shot a 17 year old who was assaulting him. I have not seen any evidence George was aware of his assailant's age at the time.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Zimmerman was glaring at Martin and Martin looked right at him because Zimmerman was being so menacing. So Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher that he was a teenager so Zimmerman knew he was not old enough to have a gun.

  • R. K. Phillips||

    Also, according to Zimmerman, he was being beaten by this kid. So a kid is beating you, and you have a gun. Predict the outcome. (In the real world, Zimmerman is a genuine penis.)

  • Tionico||

    your attempt at hilarity: "So conservative hero George Zimmerman targeted a 17 year old knowing he would be unarmed and therefore an easy target??

    George Zimmerman targetted no one. Get your facts right.

    KNOWING there had been a sudden spate of housebreakings in his neighbourhood, and SEEING an unknown (that means, he does not live here) individual nosing about in people's yards, peering into windows, etc, he simply observed... was given the slip, then, as he returned to his truck, was violently assaulted by a HUGE 17 year old thugpunk who grounded and pounded him, bashing his head onto a concrete sidewalk.... as he sat astraddle his victim. When said 17 year old Martial Arts competitor discovered George's concealed handgun, he tried to get it away, declaring he would kill its owner. It was in the struggle for control over the handgun it discharged.... killing the thugpunk instantly. Forensics established the gun was within inches of thugpunk's chest..... consistent with Mr. Z's account, which never wavered under extreme repeated questioining.

    Try again?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    On the 911 tape Zimmerman calls Martin a teenager so in this discussion Zimmerman knew Martin was not armed while Zimmerman obviously knew he had his concealed handgun.

  • bernard11||

    Yes.

    It's well-known that criminals carefully check potential victims' birth certificates before going after them.

  • mad_kalak||

    It is also well known that most people can tell someone's age via visual inspection of their face +/- a few years.

  • ThomasD||

    Yeah, but think what it will do for Chicago...

    They experience the equivalent of a school shooting once or twice a month.

    Every. Month.

  • Jerry B.||

    "So we have ONE mass shooting by someone under 21 who purchased his own weapon."

    And if his school had reported his assaults to the police, instead of trying to keep him out of the "System", it's probable that he wouldn't have been able to legally purchase a firearm either.

  • Tionico||

    The school murderer in Florida had committed at least three offenses, possibly four, that I know of, that, had he been charged with them, EACH ONE would have been disabling with regards to his purchasing firearms, or even possessing them. Violent physical assault upon his Mother, violent assaults against to other people, both involving weapons, and caught at that school wtih a knife "dangerous weapon" a felony violation of the GFSZ act. Had Broward County Sheriffs' DONE THEIR JOBS< he'd never have been able to purchase ANY of his collection because all four of these incidents are disabling.... can't buy or possess ANY guns.

  • Tionico||

    Sandy Hook shooer MURDERED his mother,, then, since she was dead, she no longer owned anything, so he did not steal them.... in any case, he did not lawfully purchase it through an FFL.

  • SimonP||

    Maybe we should just ban white males from acquiring guns, right? Since they seem to be the problem here.

  • phattyboombatty||

    Good point. Has there EVER been a female school shooter? Or for that matter, has the culprit of any mass shooting ever been a female? I think females should be upset that they're unfairly getting roped into restrictions that have zero to do with them.

    On other hand, I just recalled that the Sandy Hook shooter used his mother's gun as the murder weapon, so maybe women do share some blame.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Brenda Spencer was the "original" school shooter.

    https://tinyurl.com/zqqwttl

    Males of all races are wildly over-represented in mass shootings, but white aren't disproportionately so.
    They are about 60% of the shooters. It just seems that way since blacks males are over-representative of murderers in general.

  • HektorB||

    You beat me to it. She's the"inspiration" for the Boomtown Rats' hit single, "I Don't Like Mondays" way back in 1980, The shooting, at elementary school kids, took place in1979, I believe. Two dead, eight wounded.

    When asked why she did it, she replied, "I don't like Mondays..." Her father (!) gave her the gun, and 500(!) rounds of ammo.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Mother Jones magazine has developed a mass-shooter data base that begins in 1982. It has two cases with a female-only shooter and one (the San Bernardino incident) with both male and female shooters.

    The female-only ones are:

    Goleta (CA) Postal Shootings (2006). Former postal worker Jennifer Sanmarco killed a neighbor then went to the processing center and killed six postal employees before killing herself.

    Alturas (CA) Tribal Shooting (2014). Cherie Lash Rhodes killed four, wounded two, then grabbed a butcher knife an stabbed another.

    You can download the Mother Jones spreadsheet in various formats. They update it with each mass shooting:

    Mother Jones data series

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Why did they choose 1982 as a start date, I wonder?

  • R. K. Phillips||

    It was convenient to their agenda.

  • Chip Woodier||

    I think females should be upset that they're unfairly getting roped into restrictions that have zero to do with them.

    The 2nd Amendment doesn't apply to women. Per US code, except for the few that are in the National Guard, women aren't allowed in militias. Women don't have the right to keep and bear arms.

    10 USC 246: Militia: composition and classes

    (/sarc, for those that equate the RKBA to militias)

  • Tionico||

    Clyde Barrow's main squeeze Bonnie............

  • Notknown||

    "Has there EVER been a female school shooter?"

    Look up the name Brenda Spencer.

  • RPGuy16||

    Why are we limiting the analysis to mass shootings. The vast majority of criminal shootings are committed by young black males. If this was really about saving lives we would ban all young black males from owning guns.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Would such a law survive eational basis scrutiny?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "eational basis scrutiny"

    Does that type of scrutiny void laws that are indigestible? :)

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Which is why Republicans opposition to Planned Parenthood is so irrational—the clinics are in the middle of black neighborhoods!! I am pro-life but I support handing out free birth control like it is candy in poor neighborhoods. No way Republicans could ever get away with promoting a program exactly like Planned Parenthood!! Justice Kennedy would flip out and write an opinion all about "animus" and racism if Republicans promoted PP.

  • Bruce Hayden||

    Would this matter? A significant percentage of the shooters are under 21 and are using handguns, which they can't buy already. Doesn't seem to affect the most rider rate a whole lot. Maybe because the guns are most often bought on the black market, that has no age requirement.

  • KevinP||

    Slate: Mass Shooters Aren't Disproportionately White
    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....phics.html

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Very enlightening article despite the source.

  • FlameCCT||

    Tell that to all the people killed in Chicago every year!

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    I think Walmart's stance is "Eighteen, nineteen, and twenty-year-olds make up such a small part of our retail gun sales customers that our virtue-signalling on this issue won't hurt sales in any significant way" Just like the courageous legislators who know raising the minimum legal age for buying rifles will affect such a small percentage of eligible voters,(and a group that has a reputation of not getting out to vote anyway), that they will not suffer at the polls. Real courage all around....

  • ThomasD||

    That they'll still sell .223 ammo says they've done the math.

  • J M||

    You forgot a few:

    There have been at least 15 other school shootings committed by 18 - 20 year-olds in the past 50 years, but I can't post all the links here. You can find them yourself at the "List of School Shootings in the United States" wikipedia page :)

  • phattyboombatty||

    Dick's Sporting Goods announced today that they were stopping all sales of guns to people under 21. According to Dick's, "Some will say these steps can't guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it."

    Well, Dick's, do you realize that over 100 high school kids have died from playing football since 2005? If you're being consistent, you should discontinue selling all football related gear, because if even one life is saved, it will be worth it.

    Oh, and while you're at it Dick's, you should probably stop selling trampolines, skate boards, bicycles, crossbows, hunting stands, boats, knives, etc. After all, it will be worth it if even one life is saved.

    But seriously, statements like the quotation above are every product liability plaintiff's attorney's dream. If your client has been injured by a product sold at Dick's, and there's even the slightest level of knowledge by Dick's that the product could possibly result in harm to someone, the attorney will beat Dick's over the head with this statement.

  • Robin Littlefield||

    Product liability law is triggered (sorry) when a manufacturer or seller puts a defective product in the hands of the consumer and the product defect causes the injury. I don't think that applies here.

  • Bruce Hayden||

    Which is to say that product liability is not really the relevant theory here. But, even before the federal law was enacted that preempted lawsuits against gun manufacturers for product misuse, product liability was a weak theory against firearms for precisely that reason - they were operating as designed. A better fit might be something like negligent entrustment. The basic problem is that these products are inherently dangerous, and that is part of why they are attractive, esp to a segment of the population that gets an enjoyable adrenaline dump when facing danger.

  • Robin Littlefield||

    I was responding to the person who said that this IS a products liability issue.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    There are a lot of products besides guns which can arguably be described as "inherently dangerous".

  • ThomasD||

    Any sport that commonly employs protective gear - helmets, pads, etc. - is inherently dangerous.

  • Rossami||

    This may be an overly cynical view but I suspect Dick's has been getting their lunch handed to them by better competitors in the retail market for firearms. Walmart commands the low-price end of the spectrum and actual outdoorsman stores like Gander Mountain, Cabela's, etc do a much better job at the high end. I think Dick's was losing money and this tragedy gave them a face-saving excuse to start easing out of the market without alienating all the coaches and other sports directors who are their real bread-and-butter.

  • mad_kalak||

    What's silly about this too, is that Field & Stream stores, owned by Dick's, does sell guns which would qualify as assault rifles under some state laws.

  • Careless||

    Which states consider non-assault rifles assault rifles?

  • mad_kalak||

    I see where you're going with that, and I'm not going to debate what is or is not an "assault rifle." But what I'm saying is that you can get a Ruger mini-14 or mini-30 at a Field & Stream, which with the addition of an aftermarket 30 round magazine, is functionally identical to an AR or an AK. My point being that Dick's is engaging in meaningless virtue signalling.

  • Careless||

    Well you're not going to "debate" it because it's a defined term and you just look stupid for trying to claim that something is something it is not. So slink away.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Do you comment here because of some intellectual diversity program? Like, the Conspiracy wants the views of a total moron so you were recruited to post here.

  • mad_kalak||

    I will be charitiable and ask if you're referring to mad_kalak or Rossami.

    Either way, your comments takes the conversation from zero to sixty of vitriol with no point in between. Moreover, Ross's question is quite timely, because there are a lot of sporting goods stores going under these days, like MC Sports, and Dick's is part of that whole market. Further, my reply points out that Dick's is perhaps engaging hypocritical behavior.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Rossami called me a liar above when I stated a well know fact because it didn't conform to its belief system.

  • Careless||

    Of course, Walmart did the exact same thing within a day or two

  • Michael Ejercito||

    "Even one life is saved".

    So if a gun store refuses to sell firearms to young black males, it would be worth it if even one life is saved?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    We should lower the drinking age to 19 and increase the age to buy a gun to 21...although I would have no problem with 18 year old girls buying guns. In almost all of these massacres the parents have "checked out" and this might force the parents to take a more active role in their young son's life.

  • Humaphobia||

    Even if it's illegal, principally we as libertarians should completely support businesses selling to whomever they want. The fact that businesses aren't allowed to discriminate about whatever they want is where this progressive paradigm eats itself.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I have to agree with this, much as I am offended by the stores doing it. People are clearly entitled to offend me if that's what they want to do.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Good to see folks sticking to their principals.

    Of course, on the other side, I gotta say you live by the public accommodation law, you die by the public accommodation law.

  • ThomasD||

    Anti discrimination laws are an affront to liberty.

    If they are not equally enforced then that is further insult and injustice.

    Sell them the rifle or sell no one.

  • Jerry B.||

    I have no legal problem with Dick's not selling certain types of guns, or to people of certain ages. I'm sure that they, in turn, will have no problem if I don't patronize them anymore.

  • ThomasD||

    I'd have to start in order to stop and that's a bridge too far because big box gun shops suck anyway.

  • Chip Woodier||

    I don't think anyone patronizes them. The few times that I've been in there, the staff outnumbered the customers. It's probably a front for laundering drug money.

  • RPGuy16||

    Thousands of people are killed every year by people under 21 driving motor vehicles. If this was really about saving lives we would start there.

  • phattyboombatty||

    Yep, because apparently depriving millions of 16-20 year olds from being able to drive is worth it if even one person's life is saved by the law.

  • Cloudbuster||

    That is the classic gun control argument.

  • ThomasD||

    It is known.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    In 20 years driving will be seen like smoking cigarettes is today. I still can't believe we as society let people walk around with burning sticks in their hands and then litter wantonly.

  • DavidTaylor||

    There is a good argument here based on what we used to call military cost benefit analysis: how many soldiers' lives are worth the objective? For driving, a couple of classic examples are used in the literature: speed limits and seat belts. We know that lowering the speed limit is correlated with a decrease in highway fatalities -- that was one immediately observed effect of the national 55 mph limit way back when we were responding to a gas crisis in the early 1970s -- but people seem to be willing to tolerate the small difference in fatality in order to drive faster, so there was pressure to bring speed limits back to 60 or 65 mph. It was also assumed that seat belts would save lives, but car manufacturers for years argued that car buyers would object to the extra cost of installing seat belts. In that case, government regulation won, and seat belts are mandatory, and seat belt use is required in most states. But it's arguable that lower speed limits would accomplish the same outcome -- yet we haven't done that, and the pressure to keep speed limits high, or to raise them, has pretty much prevailed.

    One major difference between cars and guns, as phattyboombatty notes, is that cars serve utilitarian purposes millions of times a day, while it is arguable that public ownership of guns does not, certainly not at anything like that level.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Cars and roads have improved dramatically since the 70s so I'm not convinced a 55 MPH speed limit would have a big effect now.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    And don't forget Asian women drivers. I don't have the statistics but they gotta be leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

  • ThomasD||

    Chicago.
    Chicago.
    Chicago.

  • ||

    The CRA doesn't cover retail stores? Since when?

  • Robin Littlefield||

    It never has. Section 2000(a) of the Act says it expressly applies to hotels, restaurants, theaters, gas stations, and in contracting, but it doesn't include retail establishments. This is a helpful law review article about it: http://digitalcommons.tourolaw.....larlyworks

  • ||

    Mind blown. I never had any idea that the definition of public accommodation in Title II didn't cover every type of business. Thanks!

  • FlameCCT||

    So all these cases against photographers, florists, bakeries, etc. are not included in the Act?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They're under often much more expansive state public accommodation laws.

  • Longtobefree||

    Minor point. Federal age discrimination applies to those over 40. The business decision Dick has made is only in violation of the law in states or localities with age discrimination laws that cover 18 to 21 year olds.

  • ||

    Isn't the federal 40 rule only for employment, not public accommodation?

  • Eugene Volokh||

    Exactly: Federal law bans age discrimination in employment, but not in public accommodations (even the limited set of public accommodations as to which federal law bans discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin).

  • dxh@yahoo.com||

    Logically, if a state can force a bakery to sell a gay couple a cake, they can force a gun store to sell a gun.

  • Eugene Volokh||

    They can, in the sense that such a law would be constitutional -- it's just that most states don't actually ban age discrimination in places of public accommodation (just like many don't ban sexual orientation discrimination).

    In those states that ban sexual orientation discrimination in places of public accommodation, and cover retail stores, a gun store would not be allowed to refuse to sell guns to gays (or to straights).

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    A gun shop would be a great place to register for your wedding...guns are a lot more useful than china!

  • David Nieporent||

    That's what Mao said.

  • loki13||

    This thread was worth it just for that, DMN.

  • Careless||

    Given that he had guns and risked everything including them to conquer China, I don't get it

  • ReasonableLogic||

    I'm fairly certain most local gun shops (not dick's or walmart) won't adopt this as they tend to have folks who can think more clearly. Most CEO's want to appease shareholder's.

    I can't wait to see the response when it's brought to the public's attention that these stores are fine with allowing 18-20y/o's to provide and protect them in the armed forces (irony), enjoy freedom's that are provided (some dying in the process) but they're not permitted to go into their store and purchase a firearm to hunt with. A change of policy will happen because of the title wave of embarrassment this will bring upon them at their own fault.

  • FlameCCT||

    I wonder if these stores, as well as those banning the NRA, will go the way of Target?

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Most CEO's want to appease shareholder's."

    They are not doing this to "appease shareholder's".

    They are virtue signaling.

  • ReasonableLogic||

    +1 to you Bob. Forgot about that.

  • ||

    Exactly. If it was just to appease shareholders, they'd do so quietly without an announcement and accompanying letter calling for new gun control laws.

  • Careless||

    A large number of shareholders will be appeased by them signaling this "virtue"

  • p3orion||

    What if an 18-year-old wants to buy a gun decorated with a scene of a gay wedding?

  • Longtobefree||

    Not sure it matters. While the left will use the power of the state to compel individuals and business to do or sell or create certain things, the right will just not buy anything at all from business that offend the constitution, so there is no real issue here.
    Dick's has made a business decision, and individual customers will make a determination to continue to shop there, or to refuse to shop there.

  • ||

    I already unsubscribed from their email list and canceled an order I had coincidentally placed half an hour before the announcement.

  • apedad||

    Businesses can't "offend" the Constitution.

  • ||

    Sure they can. If you consider the Constitution to lay out a set of principles which should guide everyone, then they can. They can't violate it, but that's not the same as offend.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Well, technically a business can violate the Constitution by enslaving somebody, or by importing booze into a state in violation of it's liquor laws. Both the 13th and 21st amendments are written in such a way as to not just bind the government. But that's about the only way.

  • ReasonableLogic||

    The Age of Legal Majority is 18. Which now means there are businesses that are perfectly fine with sending these 18y/o's to defend everyone's freedoms we all enjoy, but those same 18-20y/o's can't come home from leave during hunting season and purchase a hunting firearm and participate in something they've possibly done since they were 10 the great outdoors. I say we advocate in favor of our 18-20y/o to not be permitted entry into the armed forces (the irony) until they reach the age of 21.

    Does this now mean I have to mentor hunt my 14y/o until he's 21 now instead of 16 where he's (at least in PA.) legally permitted to hunt on his own even though he was at one time able to purchase a hunting firearm at 18. YES, I intentionally wrote it to sound irrational because it is.

    These knee JERK reactions folks are not the correct response.

    I proudly served in the U.S. Air Force many years ago. However if the Age of Legal Majority to purchase a hunting firearm is raised to 21 but entry into the armed forces (again... the irony) stays at 18 or certain businesses remain not willing to sell a legal adult a rifle/shotgun until they're 21 but accept the freedom's those 18-20y/o's help provide then I would not have entered to help provide freedoms I can die for but not enjoy.

    Could go on and on but what's the use?

  • ||

    Agreed. There should be one age of majority for everything.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    So lower the age of concealed carry permits to 18?

  • regexp||

    stays at 18 or certain businesses remain not willing to sell a legal adult a rifle/shotgun until they're 21 but accept the freedom's those 18-20y/o's help provide then I would not have entered to help provide freedoms I can die for but not enjoy.

    Sorry to point this out but nothing you did while you were in the military had anything to do with your freedom or mine.

  • ReasonableLogic||

    @regexp. Pardon me for my faux pas. I should have written MAINTAIN. You're welcome for my service anyway.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    So you oppose Texas' concealed carry law which requires a person to be 21 to apply for the license?

  • ReasonableLogic||

    It's 18 for military members in Texas.

    Honestly I believe that everyone should be deemed mature, responsible, and competent enough to engage in whatever it is they seek.
    Is 16 old enough for everyone to be able to drive? No.
    Do I agree that 18 is old enough for everyone who's deemed an adult by Age of Legal majority and are now able to enter military service? No.
    Do I agree that those that are 20 yrs.-364days old are too young to consume alcohol but then they turn 21y/o the very next day and are automatically deemed mature and responsible enough? No.

    What I would like, I think we all would like is for there to be a system to be put in place to ensure maturity and responsibility at all the aforementioned examples plus more I didn't mention but that would be a monumental if not impossible task.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    We used to have a system like that. It was called parenting. It's a monumental task and not everybody is good at it, but it beats having politicians make those decisions.

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    Sebastian likes to harp on the 21yo CC thing because he has no other argument. He has long since left the topic of mass-murder and whether 18-20yo adults should be stripped of 2A rights for no reason.

    He also isn't aware that Federal Law prohibits handgun possession for those under 21, which is why the CC age is generally 21.

    How do I put this politely....he doesn't really understand the subject.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    You are a dumb one! An 18 year old can legally acquire a handgun in America but at least in Texas they can't apply for a concealed carry permit. You apparently don't believe 18 year olds have the right to self defense with a gun outside the home. You are truly an imbecile.

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    Yeah. I must not believe 18 year olds have a 2A right, which is why I'm arguing that prohibiting 18-20 year old adults from purchasing firearms is wrong.

    For someone who argues solely with ad hominem remarks and other assorted fallacies, you have a very hard time keeping track of any particular argument.

    Maybe try to focus on what is actually being discussed, while I continue to report your posts for spam every time you insult someone.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Lol, you are a little snowflake.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "He also isn't aware that Federal Law prohibits handgun possession for those under 21"

    Probably he's unaware of it because it doesn't. The prohibition on possession is 18, and even that has exceptions for when the gun is owned by somebody else, and is loaned to the minor for various legal purposes such as hunting or target shooting.

    Federally licensed dealers can't sell handguns to those under 21. But private individuals can do it down to 18. Yeah, it's irrational. Gun laws generally are.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Do you have access to a time machine?

  • Careless||

    No, you should probably not hunt your son.

  • Herk USN MP||

    re: "descent into mental illness in males begins around 17 to 25"

    HA. How would it go over to say "Walmart will discontinue sales of firearms and ammunition to anyone over 60."
    Let's face it...dimentia and senility set in there alot.

    Playing devils advocate but whats the difference in age discrimination one way or another?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    You first have to explain why Texas requires a concealed weapon permit holder to be 21.

  • Careless||

    alot... it means "tough" in Indonesian. "set in there tough"... I don't get it.

  • DJK||

    To the "if even one life is saved" argument, I would counter that it's possible that many more will be harmed. Estimates of annual defensive uses of firearms range from 100,000 to 2,000,000, depending on source. Say we no longer allow 18-20 year old people to have firearms. This means that such a defense is no longer available to them. We can estimate that this age group makes up about 5% of the population currently qualified to buy guns (3 year age group divided by ~60 year age group of all people older than 18). We can then estimate that this group would have used firearms defensively 5,000 to 100,000 times in any given year, but are no longer able to given the new 21 year age restriction. How would these 5,000 to 100,000 encounters end, now that the defenders are unarmed?

  • bernard11||

    This is a great country. You can estimate whatever you want.

  • Absaroka||

    Bernard, I'm not sure what you are trying to say. If you think DJK's numbers are off base, you might check out the wiki page on 'Defensive gun use'. Even David Hemenway counts 55k to 80k per year. If you're not familiar with the name, he is not, shall we say, a gun enthusiast.

    The article has a pretty good discussion of the various surveys and possible reasons for their differences - but even at the low end of the estimates DJK's point matters.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_gun_use

  • bernard11||

    Absaroka,

    Thank you for the link. There are a number of interesting things there, not all of which suggest that DGU's are a major benefit, or even outweigh harmful effects.

    I once lived next door to a woman who generated lots of DGU's. Every time there was a windstorm and tree branches brushed her house she assumed she was under attack and shouted that she had a gun and "they" better leave her alone. The branches ignored the threats, though they in fact did leave her alone.

    Now, that's OK, as long as she didn't fire, and if threatening to shoot calmed her and made her feel better then why criticize? But let's not pretend her life was in danger either.

  • Absaroka||

    I know half a dozen people who have used guns defensively - one of whom would have almost certainly died if unarmed. One successfully deterred and detained a knife armed mugger, another was a woman alone who successfully suggested a burglar leave, etc. Those DGU's were a major benefit to them.

    Reasonable people can disagree about a lot of gun related things, but denying that many people use guns legitimately and successfully is not one of those things. If you doubt that, there are blogs that list the ones that make the news, day after day after day.

    People surely do bad things with guns, but people also put them to good use.

    We may have different circles of friends - if you don't know any gun owners, you won't know any gun defenders. That doesn't mean they don't exist.

  • bernard11||

    People surely do bad things with guns, but people also put them to good use.

    No doubt. I was merely expressing some doubts about the accuracy of DGU surveys. Plus, I like venison too.

    Still, any discussion needs to take into account both kinds of use, and weigh them against one another.

  • jph12||

    Let's see, professional surveyors conducting social science research. Anecdote by bernard11. I thought you guys fucking loved science?

  • Hell Hound||

    All gun laws are unconstitutional. The Second Amendment doesn't say how old you have to be or how many rounds you can carry in your pocket. I'm tired of them taking away our freedoms. Tyranny is the purpose for having the rights we have under the constitution.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Exactly, fully automatic weapons should not be outlawed and anyone that supports the prohibition of fully automatic weapons is inherently in favor of gun control and so the discussion automatically becomes about how much gun control we should have.

    Btw, the fact fully automatic weapons aren't used in crimes is actually an argument that gun control works.

  • Matthew Carberry||

    Meh. Full autos are still used in crime, they are just _rarely_ used, so I guess you could claim the restriction kinda "works". But, then, easily available semi-auto long guns aren't used in much crime either.

    Most crime, whether before the NFA or after, is committed with handguns. Many, if not most, fully-automatic firearms used in crime prior to NFA were used by professional criminals who, in many cases, stole them from poorly secured police and National Guard armories.

    I'd posit that the number of full autos purchased over the counter, directly, by people who today would be prohibited persons, is about the same as the number of non-full autos purchased over the counter directly by prohibited persons today. That is, infinitesimally few. There's little reason to believe that criminals changed much in how they access weapons over the years.

    After all, why _buy_ the one Thompson a legitimate store might have in stock, or wait to have one ordered for you by an unknowing shop owner, when you can just as easily steal them in job lots or get them from your criminal associates, exactly as most guns are accessed by criminals now?

  • Hell Hound||

    Machine guns are occasionally used in crimes. See Mexico. It could also imply that law a bidding citizens don't commit crimes with guns period, because there are people in the US with special permits to own machine guns.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Why can't American criminals acquire machine guns?

  • ranrod||

    State rights trump all local laws

  • ranrod||

    State gun laws trump any local gun control laws..

  • Hell Hound||

    Criminals in the US do have machine guns. It's where Mexico gets most of theirs or sometimes from Fast and Furious. Eric Holder. It's also pretty easy to make most semi rifles fully auto anyway. Google it. It just makes them less effective in hitting your target. This is why military rifles no longer are fully automatic. Only 3 round bust or semi. Also the reason criminals don't use them much. Hard to rob a store or bank carrying a machine gun. Pistols are more suitable in most of these situations.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Mexico has a much higher murder rate than America so that implies fully automatic are more deadly/effective than semi automatic. Also if fully are less effective it seems strange you want to keep them out of the hands of criminals. Also I understand the military has gone back to full auto.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Criminals in the US do have machine guns."

    You have to wonder why they're not using them in crimes, then.

    "It's where Mexico gets most of theirs "

    Actually, the criminal machine guns in Mexico typically come from Mexican army armories. And, I'm a little vague on this, but I don't think the Mexican army buys from US sources.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Dunno abt now. but when I was 10 my grandpappy had to pay the pawnshop $7 for my first 0.22. All I could buy was ammo.

  • papagreen75||

    As an FFL & gun shop owner, I can say that when the ATF issues your license, they tell you that you have the absolute power to discriminate who you sell to. As a moral issue we turn down buyers we are not comfortable selling guns to at least nice a week. Moreover, as a proprietor of my goods, I should have the right to refuse service to anyone I choose.

  • Abe Froman||

    The notion of a "public accommodation" is something dreamed up by the Supreme Court during the bus boycotts in the South during the '50's and '60's. It's also been used more recently to force bakers to make cakes for gay weddings;. There is no such principle in the constitution. The justices dreamed it up out of while cloth. Running a business is like your home in certain ways. You don't have to allow anyone or everyone to walk into your home. A business should be able to refuse service to ANYONE for ANY reason or for no reason at all. Anything else is anti-freedom and anti-liberty.

  • Abe Froman||

    The notion of a "public accommodation" is something dreamed up by the Supreme Court during the bus boycotts in the South during the '50's and '60's. It's also been used more recently to force bakers to make cakes for gay weddings;. There is no such principle in the constitution. The justices dreamed it up out of while cloth. Running a business is like your home in certain ways. You don't have to allow anyone or everyone to walk into your home. A business should be able to refuse service to ANYONE for ANY reason or for no reason at all. Anything else is anti-freedom and anti-liberty.

  • Mesoman||

    But if they want them to bake a cake celebrating attacks on schools, they have to sell them one - at least, that's what the bakery cases seem to be telling us!

  • Joirep||

    >a well regulated militia

    Can you have a well regulated militia if you cant recruit and train 18-21 year olds?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Actually had Scalia performed a strict constructionist interpretation of the 2A a national age limit would be deemed unconstitutional because the 2A would be correctly seen as a federalism provision that prohibits the feds from interfering with state gun laws. However I believe Heller allows a national age limit as long as an option exists for people under 21 to get a gun without their parents' consent...so the standard will most like be "undue burden".

  • Brett Bellmore||

    That would only have been the case if he'd stopped at strict construction of the 2nd amendment, and avoided the 14th amendment. And, why should he have done that when they got to McDonald?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    If the 2A was properly interpreted as a federalism provision then the amendment would defy incorporation. So Justice Thomas correctly interprets the Establishment Clause as a federalism provision that should only apply to the federal government and thus should not incorporated.

  • Tionico||

    Mr. Volohk, allow me to bring up one pount in counter to one of yours. You relate how federal laws against discrimination do so for discrimination laws at federal or state level. Then you go on to relate how the Second Article of Ammendment constrains GOVERNMENT and these retailers are NOT government.

    Re-read that Second Article please. WHERE and HOW does that Article indicate that? It is a universal consraint upon ANY entity, wheher it be government, business, another individual..... it says quite simply "shall not be infringed"/ Nowhere does it specify by whom, or for what purpose. Dicks and WalMart ARE indeed infringing upon the rights of under 21 adults to freely make use of arms as they see fit, and this infringement is prohibited by the Constitution's Second Article of Ammendment.

  • Ron||

    but if a person is gay and under 21 they will have to sell it to them.

  • ||

    It would be unconstitutional to deny any citizen their natural right to life, and self-protection, beyond the age of consent.

  • Notknown||

    "Can Gun Stores Refuse to Sell Rifles and Shotguns to Under-21-Year-Olds?"

    In a free country they should be able to. Unfortunately this stopped being a free country a long time ago.

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