Kroger joins Walmart, Dick's, raises minimum age for gun buyers to 21

A logo of Kroger is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York

A logo of Kroger is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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(Reuters) - Kroger Co said on Thursday it will stop selling firearms and ammunition to buyers under the age of 21 at its Fred Meyer stores, becoming the third major U.S. retailer to set restrictions that are tougher than government regulations.

The announcement follows similar moves by Walmart Inc and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc on Wednesday, two weeks after social media-savvy students ignited an intense debate on gun control in the United States following a deadly shooting spree at their Florida high school.

"Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on

the part of responsible gun retailers," Kroger said in an email.

Kroger operates 133 Fred Meyer stores in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. It sells firearms in 43 of those stores.

The company will also stop selling assault-style rifles in Alaska. It ceased such sales in its Fred Meyer stores in Oregon, Washington and Idaho several years ago.

"We made the decision (Wednesday) that we will no longer sell assault-style rifles in Alaska nor accept any special orders of these weapons in this market," a Kroger spokeswoman said.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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