Kroger is banning gun sales at its Fred Meyer stores to anyone younger than 21, joining other national retailers after a 19-year-old armed with an assault-style rile killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school last month.
Bi-Mart, which has headquarters in Eugene, Ore., and stores around the Northwest, announced Thursday it will also ban gun and ammunition sales to those younger than 21.
Kroger said Thursday that its decision came "in response to the tragic events in Parkland and elsewhere," which prompted the company to take "a hard look at our policies and procedures for firearm sales."
Dick's also ended sales of assault-style rifles at its Field & Stream stores, after having already banned the sales at its namesake big-box locations in 2012. Walmart banned those sales in 2015.
While gun-control proponents have applauded the sales bans at big retailers, the range of outlets where guns are sold in the U.S. means that most people who want a weapon won't have any trouble finding one. In fact, any signals that weapons are becoming more difficult to buy could actually help sales, experts say. About 6,800 shops, 56,000 federally licensed dealers and 8,000 pawnbrokers are allowed to sell guns in the U.S. Buyers can also access firearms most weekends at shows at fairgrounds and event spaces.
Fred Meyer locations, which sell general merchandise, stopped selling assault-style rifles in all states except Alaska several years ago. The company said Thursday that it would "no longer accept any special-orders of these weapons in Alaska."
Fred Meyer stores in urban areas do not sell firearms or ammunition. But stores in places like Newberg, Oregon do.
Shoppers outside that store had mixed reviews about the 21 and over decision.
"I think that’s a great thing because especially what happened with the shootings out there in Florida," said Phillip Krentkowski.
"My daughters is in the Airforce and she carries a gun... I feel that if she can be in the military and carry a gun she should be able to buy a gun any time she wants," said Terri Petrjanos.
Fred Meyer has about 130 stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
"Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers," the company said. "As we refresh stores we are often transitioning gun departments due to softer demand and changing customer preferences."
Kroger described the changes as "common sense steps."
Here is the full statement:
Kroger's vision is to serve America through food inspiration and uplift. In response to the tragic events in Parkland and elsewhere, we've taken a hard look at our policies and procedures for firearm sales.
We follow all state and local laws regulating the sales of sporting-related firearms at our select general-merchandise Fred Meyer stores.
Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers. We are raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase firearms and ammunition in all of our Fred Meyer locations that sell firearms. We stopped selling assault-style rifles in our Oregon, Washington and Idaho Fred Meyer stores several years ago and we will no longer accept any special-orders of these weapons in Alaska. Through Restock Kroger, we have a robust space optimization effort underway in many of our stores, including Fred Meyer locations. As we refresh stores we are often transitioning gun departments due to softer demand and changing customer preferences.
We believe these are common sense steps we can take immediately that are in line with our values and our vision."