Kroger, Walmart, and Dick's Changed How They Sell Guns, But Here's Why It May Not Make a Difference

Kroger will no longer sell guns to customers under 21 years old following the Parkland, Florida shooting. Mike Kemp Getty Images/Tetra images RF

Kroger will no longer sell guns to customers under 21 years of age, the company announced Thursday.

While Kroger stores have never sold firearms, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. does sell guns at 43 of its Fred Meyer locations in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

“Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers,” said Kroger spokeswoman Jessica Adelman. “In response to the tragic events in Parkland and elsewhere, we’ve taken a hard look at our policies and procedures for firearm sales.”

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This announcement makes Kroger the third major retailer to change its gun sale policies in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Stops Selling Assault Rifles

On Wednesday, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would no longer sell assault-style weapons. This news came after it was discovered that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who killed 17 people, bought a gun at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Florida.

While the the AR-15 used in the massacre was not purchased at Dick’s, the company decided to pull similar rifles after the tragedy.

“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” CEO Edward Stack said. “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”

The company is calling on lawmakers to take action on “common sense gun reform,” including measures to address mental health, improve background checks, raise the age to buy a gun, and ban bump stocks and other similar accessories.

Dick’s Sporting Goods shares closed up 0.7% Wednesday following the decision, while gunmakers’ stocks fell further.

Walmart Raises the Age for Gun Buyers

Walmart raised the minimum age for firearms and ammunition purchases at its stores to 21 on Wednesday.

“We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms,” the company said in a statement.

Walmart is the largest single seller of guns in the U.S. and operates 4,600 stores around the country. The company stopped selling the AR-15 and other rifles in 2015 and only sells handguns in Alaska.

The retailer does not sell gun accessories like bump stocks and it announced Wednesday that high-capacity magazines will no longer be sold at any Walmart stores.

Other Major Gun Retailers

Bass Pro Shops still sells AR-15 models and similar weapons.

The retailer also owns Cabela’s and Academy Sports and Outdoors. Cabela’s announced in October 2017 that it would no longer sell bump stocks, following the shooting in Las Vegas.

Bass Pro Shops has never sold those kind of accessories in its stores, but the company has not yet announced changes to its gun policies in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

However, most firearms are sold at gun shops or gun shows rather than at major chains, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. About 12% of assault style weapons and 23% of long gun and handguns are sold by mainstream retailers, according to data compiled for the organization. So while it’s a powerful gesture for these retailers to change their policies, it may not actually make a significant dent in the access to guns.

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