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Attorney Discusses Controversial Gun Lawsuit

Tyler Watson filed a lawsuit against Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods on March 5. NewsWatch 12's Emma Balkenbush sat down with his attorney, Max Whittington, on Thursday to talk about the controversial lawsuit that's grabbing national attention.

Posted: Mar 8, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: Mar 8, 2018 6:46 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Tyler Watson filed a lawsuit against Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods on March 5 because the store's would not let him buy a rifle because he is not 21. NewsWatch 12's Emma Balkenbush sat down with his attorney, Max Whittington, on Thursday to talk about the controversial lawsuit that's grabbing national attention. 

Cauble & Cauble & Selvig, LLP has had phones ringing off the hook since the lawsuit was filed. 

Both Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart recently announced they would not sell firearms to anyone under the age of 21. In Oregon, age is a part of the public accommodations law, which means stores cannot discriminate against someone because of their age.

Tobacco, marijuana and alcohol are the exceptions to that law.

When asked about a possible ploy for his client to get money, Whittington said that's not his end goal.

"My client is definitely not looking for money in this case, in fact I wouldn't say it's likely that we'll get any money from it at all. What we're asking for is injunctive relief," Whittington said. 

He said that means his end goal is a court order telling both companies they have to stop using those policies in Oregon.

Whittington said going up against two large corporations is going to be a challenge.

"But I think the law's on our side, I think ultimately we'll be vindicated," Whittington said. 

When asked if his client would accept a settlement, Whittington replied, "What we'd accept is if they reversed their policy and stopped these discriminatory practices."

He said he sees this going to summary judgment. 

"I don't think there's a lot of facts at issue, I think that the courts will agree with us that these practices are discriminatory and enjoin them," Whittington said. 

He also said he has not been reached out to by the NRA or any other groups about the lawsuit.

"At this time we're not looking for any support from anyone. If this went to appeal or further litigation it's possible but not at this time," Whittington said. 

He said the bill that the Bureau of Labor and Industries plans to introduce to the Oregon State Legislature next session would not affect the case. 

The bill would change Oregon's current law to include firearms on the list of exemptions for Oregon's public accommodations law that says stores cannot discriminate against someone on the basis of age. 

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