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Two teens denied gun sales file complaints

Hayden Parsons of Sisters and Jackson Starrett of Canby filed complaints with the Bureau of Labor and Industries after retailers declined to sell them a gun


Capital Bureau

Published on March 21, 2018 7:04PM

Two Oregon men have filed complaints with the Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging that Fred Meyer and Bi-Mart unlawfully discriminated against them by refusing to selling them a rifle and ammunition because they were younger than 21.

The March 14 complaints by Hayden Parsons of Sisters and Jackson Starrett of Canby, both 19, allege the discrimination violated their civil rights.

Parsons filed his civil rights complaint after an employee at Bi-Mart refused to sell him ammunition for his rifle. Starrett lodged his complaint after an employee at Fred Meyer in Canby declined to sell him a rifle March 5 because of store policy.

Several retailers announced after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Feb. 14, that they would no longer sell guns and ammunition to customers younger than 21.

Under state and federal law, Oregonians 18 and older can buy rifles and shotguns, and the ammunition for those firearms. You must be at least 21 to buy a handgun and handgun ammunition.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has concluded gun retailers that have stopped selling to customers younger than 21 in the wake of recent mass shootings could be violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws, according to a March 6 letter to lawmakers. The decision could be successfully challenged at BOLI or in a civil court complaint, Avakian wrote.

Oregon law has made exemptions to the anti-discrimination law for the sales of alcohol and marijuana, in which case retailers are required to refuse to sell those products to people younger than 21. To raise the minimum age to buy firearms, state lawmakers would need to enact an exemption next legislative session. State legislative leaders, both Democrat and Republican, have said they would like to consider such a change.

“The retailers’ policies to deny gun sales to those under 21 represents a common-sense effort to make public places safer,” Avakian wrote in the letter.

BOLI employees plan to submit a bill for the 2019 legislative session to make the exemption for firearms.


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