The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issued a memo this week suggesting that it is illegal for retailers to restrict gun and ammunition sales based on the buyers age.
Hannah Brumbles, an 18-year-old from Deer Island in unincorporated Columbia County, filed a complaint with the state after a Walmart store in St. Helen’s refused to sell her a rifle or ammunition last February because she was younger than 21.
Oregon law allows individuals 18 and older to purchase firearms, but a variety of regional and national retailers, including Walmart, adopted more restrictive policies following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 17 people, including 14 students and three staff members, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
Brumbles’ complaint alleged that the policy was discriminatory and violated the Oregon constitution. BOLI found that Brumbles did have grounds for the discrimination complaint, and has scheduled a hearing in November where it will hear Walmart’s response and formally rule on the matter.
Brumbles is seeking damages for physical, mental and emotional distress, which could be as high as $5,000.
Walmart will defend its policy. “In February of this year, we reviewed our policy on firearm and ammunition sales and as a result, we raised the age restriction for the purchase of those items to 21,” said Randy Hargrove, a company spokesman. “We stand behind our decision and plan to defend it. We are preparing for the November hearing before the administrative law judge.”
Correction: BOLI has not formally ruled on Brumbles complaint. An earlier version of this story indicated that it had.