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Kroger supermarket chain latest big box store to up minimum age for buying guns and ammunition

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Kroger supermarket chain followed the lead of other big box stores and announced Thursday that it will no longer sell guns and ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.

The retailer said its more than 130 Fred Meyer stores, which stock firearms, will increase the age for purchasing weapons from 18 to 21. The change was influenced by the mass shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

"Recent events demonstrate the need for additional action on the part of responsible gun retailers," Kroger, which is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, said in a statement. "We are raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase firearms and ammunition in all of our Fred Meyer locations that sell firearms."

The move comes a day after Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart stores said they will no longer sell guns to patrons younger than 21.

The alleged gunman in the Florida massacre, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, legally purchased a shotgun in November at a Dick's Sporting Goods store. Although investigators say he used an AR-15 assault rifle in the deadly rampage that he also legally purchased at a gun store near his home.

Kroger said in its statement that it stopped selling assault-style rifles in its Fred Meyer stores in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho several years ago, adding, "We will no longer accept special orders of these weapons in Alaska."

The Fred Meyer chain, founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1922, merged with Kroger in 1999 and employs about 30,000 people.

"As we refresh stores we are often transitioning gun departments due to softer demand and changing customer preferences," Kroger said in its statement. "We believe these are common sense steps we can take immediately that are in line with our values and our vision."

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