Retailers defend their decisions to put age limits on buying guns and ammo
ABILENE, Texas —
Walmart, which is one of the nation's largest gun retailers, will no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.
This change in corporate policy comes after Dick's Sporting Goods announced that they will stop selling assault-style firearms, high capacity magazines and bump stocks altogether. Dick's Sporting Goods also stated that they will no longer sell firearms, ammunition or any other gun-related products to anybody under the age of 21.
KTXS News spoke with mental health program administrator Nancy Elliot, who said that while every child is different, changes in the brain plateau in an individual's early twenties.
"Lots of changes start around the ages of 15 to 16 and plateau at about the ages of 20 to 22. A lot of it depends on the child's age and the environmental stimulus that they are exposed to and the life experience that they are exposed to as how quickly that might occur," Elliot said.
Scientific American states that the amygdala, which triggers human emotions, control gut reactions, like aggressive behaviors, develops before people's frontal lobes do so. The amygdala helps people control their impulses, emotions and responses.
"Adolescent brains are very stimulated by environmental ques, so if they get around a lot of their friends or they are watching a lot of violent TV or playing a lot of violent video games, their brain is really stimulated by that," Elliot said.
Teenagers make decisions based on intense emotion coming from the back of the brain. According to federal law enforcement officials, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, the gunman who shot up Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, purchased his AR-15 rifle that he used to kill 17 people at the high school legally.
Records show Cruz bought a gun at a Dick's Sporting Goods location in November of 2017. Although it wasn't the gun used in the shooting, the sporting goods store chain stated that "it could have been."
The shooting prompted Dick's Sporting Goods to take immediate action in regards to gun control.
Elliot believes that the decisions both stores made in relation to gun control were smart moves to make.