Two of the nation’s leading gun sellers, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, took steps on Wednesday to limit their sales of firearms, thrusting themselves into the middle of the polarizing national debate over gun control.
Walmart, the biggest gun seller, announced late in the afternoon that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age. It also said it would no longer sell items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns.
Early in the day, Dick’s said it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores. The retailer also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and would also require any gun buyer to be at least 21, regardless of local laws.
Under federal law, a person must be at least 21 to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer. But 18-year-olds can buy semiautomatic rifles and other firearms.
The dual announcements, made two weeks after 17 students and staff members were killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., were among the most significant actions taken on guns by corporate America. Both retailers said their decision were a response to the shooting.
Earlier, President Trump met at the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and called for a series of gun control measures, some of which the National Rifle Association has vigorously opposed.
Walmart and Dick’s acted after a number of major companies moved last week to dissociate themselves from the N.R.A. Hertz car rental, MetLife insurance and Delta Air Lines, among others, publicly ended their relationships with the organization.
In a news release late Wednesday, Walmart noted that in 2015 it discontinued the sale of high-powered rifles, including AR-15-style weapons, in its stores in the United States. But at the time, Walmart sidestepped any controversy involving gun politics, attributing its decision to lower customer demand for the military-style rifles.