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Battle Creek teen sues Dick's Sporting Goods over gun policy

Battle Creek teen sues Dick's Sporting Goods over gun policy. (Video Courtesy: James Makowski)

A Battle Creek teen takes a popular sports store to court over refusing to sell him a gun.

Earlier this week, Tristin Fulton, 18, attempted to buy a gun at Dick's Sporting Goods in Oakland County. The gun retailer is one of many stores nationwide refusing to sell guns to people under 21.

Cellphone video shot by Fulton's uncle, Joel Fulton, who is a co-owner of Freedom Firearms in Battle Creek, shows 18-year-old trying to buy a gun at Dick's Sporting Goods in Troy, Michigan.

Fulton was denied because the chain store recently implemented a policy that no guns will be sold to people under 21. Other major gun retailers, like Walmart, have done the same.

"Tristin is an 18-year-old, he is legally able to possess a firearm under state and federal laws," James Makowski, Fulton's attorney, said.

Makowski has filed a lawsuit against Dicks Sporting Goods in Oakland County Circuit Court, demanding the retailer stop this policy and pay Fulton a minimum of $25,000.

He cites Michigan's Elliott Larsen Act, which protects people from discrimination based on race, age and other things.

"If you are selling goods to the public than you cannot refuse to sell those goods for a discriminatory reason," Makowsi said.

His claim holds up with Michigan Law, according to Sarissa Montague, an associate attorney with Levine and Levine in Kalamazoo, but there are exceptions.

She said other states have a similar discrimination law but they usually only apply to people 40 or above.

"Dick's is allowed and any store is allowed to put policies into place so long as they have a legitimate reason for doing so," she said.

She said whether or not age is a legitimate reason to limit gun sales will be debated heavily in this case.

"Depending on how far up this goes it certainly can apply to what happens throughout the country," she said.

Montague points out that there are cases where a company has as successfully implemented age discrimination, like rental car companies; If you're under 25, some car rental companies charge you higher prices or won't rent to you at all.

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