Walmart raises age restriction for firearm sales to 21

Walmart's policy change comes in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

Walmart is banning sales of guns to people younger than 21, becoming the second major retailer to make such a move Wednesday following the Parkland, Fla. school shooting.

The nation's largest private employer and retailer made the announcement hours after Dick's Sporting Goods earlier said it would make a similar move.

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The decision comes amid billowing pressure on political leaders and business executives to take action to stem gun violence.

Walmart said it would make the policy change "as quickly as possible" and said it would require shoppers to be 21 to buy ammunition.

"In light of recent events, we’ve taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearm sales," the company said in a statement. "Going forward, we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age."

The company had already banned sales of assault-style guns in 2015. Dick's banned sales of such weapons at its big-box locations in 2012 but extended the ban to its 35 Field & Stream shops Wednesday.

Walmart also said it would remove "items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys."

"Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way," Walmart said.

Unlike Dick's Sporting Goods, which called for policy changes to outlaw assault-style rifles and raise the minimum age for purchasing a gun to 21, Walmart made no similar political call.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.