Two weeks after a school shooting that killed 19 students and almost four months after a man pointed a loaded gun at a Brookings Bi-Mart clerk, the Eugene-based store announced it will increase the age at which it will sell guns to buyers 21 or older.
Officials with the store also noted in a press release Thursday afternoon that they have never sold AK or AR platform weapons or associated merchandise.
The Parkland, Florida, shooter, a former student of the high school there, used an AR-15 to massacre students on Valentine’s Day, fomenting a surge of anger at legislators to address the issue of gun violence in schools and prompting school walkouts and protests nationwide.
And the man who came into the local Bi-Mart last November, who asked to see a rifle, loaded it with ammunition he’d brought into the store and pointed it at a clerk, was released Wednesday from Curry County Jail. He’d been sentenced to two years’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for the time he served and fined $600.
Since the Florida incident, numerous stores, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest purveyor of guns, announced they have never sold assault rifles and would increase the minimum age to whom they sell firearm-related merchandise to 21.
Fred Meyer’s website indicates its gun section is “unavailable” at this time. The chain has also announced it is increasing its minimum age requirement to 21 for those purchasing firearms and related equipment. Wal-Mart stores have done the same.
“We are committed to serving and caring about our customers,” Bi-Mart said in the press release. “We support the responsible sale and use of firearms. Since the day Bi-Mart was founded, we’ve always carried a mix of merchandise that supported the shooting sports and hunting community. We’ve done this without selling assault-type weapons. This style of firearm is not part of our current mix of goods and will not be in the future.”
The store also does not sell AK rifles, bump-stocks that enable a semi-automatic rifle to shoot more rounds than for which it was designed or high-capacity magazines for such firearms.
“Our policies for firearm sales meet or exceed all federal and state laws where we operate and currently follow all government age restrictions,” the press release reads. “We will continue to carry our current selection of items for the hunter and sport shooter.”
The company has, however, agreed with its peers that it should increase the age limit for those purchasing firearms and related merchandise.
“Our goal is to support responsible firearm use and make a positive contribution to the local, regional and national discussion of this issue,” the press release said. “Our policies have always been a reflection of our values at Bi-Mart — we will continue to make choices based on what we think is best for our members and the communities we serve.”
Reach Jane Stebbins at firstname.lastname@example.org .