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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Walmart latest to act over Florida school shooting

Store chain vows to raise age limit on buying firearms and bullets to 21, while Dick's says it will stop selling assault rifles like one used in massacre

A Walmart store in Encinitas, California. Mike Blake/Reuters
A Walmart store in Encinitas, California. Mike Blake/Reuters

Walmart pledged to increase its firearms and ammunition purchasing age to 21, joining Dick’s Sporting Goods, which said earlier that it would do the same.

"We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms," Walmart said on its website Wednesday evening. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain said it requires "customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm."

Dick’s said it would stop selling assault rifles like the one used in the Parkland, Florida high school massacre on February 14. Walmart stopped selling them in 2015, citing slow sales.

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Airlines sever ties with gun lobby after Florida massacre

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The decision by America’s largest retailer is the latest by companies re-evaluating their relationship with the firearms industry. Last week, MetLife, Symantec, and Enterprise said they would no longer offer discounts to members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Delta Air Lines parted ways with the NRA too, spurring Georgia Republicans to oppose a planned $50 million tax break for the Atlanta-based carrier.

"American voters and companies are waking up to the scope of our nation’s gun violence crisis. They are listening to the cries for action from students," said Gabrielle Giffords, a gun control advocate and former congresswoman. "They understand that it’s our responsibility as a society to do everything we can to prevent guns from falling into dangerous hands. When will Congress realise the same?”

Giffords was shot and severely wounded in a 2011 mass shooting outside Tucson.

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