Fayette County

As Dick’s and Walmart pull back, this huge online gun retailer charges ahead

A Lexington-based company that is believed to be the largest online gun retailer in the country said Thursday it has no plans to stop selling assault-style weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines or guns to people younger than 21, even as other major retailers pull back.

Doug Ramsey, director of operations for Buds Gun Shop and Range and BudsGunShop.com, said the company plans to continue selling weapons that are legal.

“Our position is as long as what we are doing is lawful, we will continue to sell the AR-15,” Ramsey said. “We are continuing our current policy and following the law.”

The company also will continue to sell long guns and shot guns to those 18 and older, in compliance with federal law. The AR-15, which was used in a Parkland Fla., school shooting last month that killed 17, is considered a long gun. The minimum age to buy handguns is 21.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced Wednesday it will stop selling assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines and any guns to people under the age of 21. Wal-Mart also announced late Wednesday that it was going to stop selling guns to people under the age of 21. Kroger, which owns Fred Meyer stores, announced Thursday it will not sell guns to anyone under 21 at its Fred Meyer locations.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, which are privately held by the same company, are now the only major brick-and-mortar retailers of assault-style weapons. They also have not lowered the age to purchase a gun.

Employee Doug Ramsey held a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport II, an AR-15 pattern firearm, at Buds Gun Shop & Range, 1105 Industry Road in Lexington. The largest online gun retailer in the country has said they don't plan to stop selling assault style rifles. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

After the Florida school shooting, many publicly-traded companies have distanced themselves from the gun industry and its powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association.

First National Bank of Omaha, the biggest privately owned U.S. bank, and Enterprise Holdings, operator of Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental, are among the companies that have said they are ending partnerships with the National Rifle Association.

On Friday, online payment processing giant PayPal told Buds Gun Shop it was suspending its account due to a violation of company policy. That policy says PayPal can not be used to purchase guns or ammunition. A spokesman for PayPal said the suspension of BudsGunShop.com was for a specific violation and was not part of wider effort by PayPal to sever ties with gun retailers.

Ramsey said PayPal has not yet told Buds why its account was suspended. In addition to guns, Buds also sells fishing gear, clothing and other items online.

The loss of PayPal won’t significantly hurt Buds’ online business, Ramsey said.

“It’s less than one percent of our online business,” he said.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall