Oregon has a tough age discrimination law that applies to persons 18 years old and older. Places of public accommodation may not treat people differently due to their ages, which the new firearms policies of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart expressly do. You can read more about this straight from the Oregon Civil Rights Division here: Enforcing Civil Rights Laws
By refusing to sell firearms to anyone younger than 21 years old, both retailers are clearly in violation of Oregon state law. Plaintiff Tyler Watson is the first to bring an age discrimination suit against them after the retailers changed their firearms sales policies. Dick’s also owns Field & Stream, which took the further step of removing all modern sporting rifles from their shelves.
Oregon law permits residents 18 years old and older to buy long guns. By denying the 20 year-old Watson’s purchase, Dick’s and Walmart each violated his civil rights as protected by Oregon law, according to his suit. The suit asks that the retailers be compelled “to stop unlawfully discriminated against 18, 19, and 20 year-old customers at all Oregon locations.” It also requests punitive damages as well as payment of attorney’s fees.
This suit is likely to be followed by similar suits in other states with age discrimination laws applying to persons under 21 years old.