- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Several months before the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz was shopping for an AR-15 rifle at a pawn shop, but the owner rebuffed him because he was under 21.

That’s the longstanding rule at the Coconut Creek Pawn in Coconut Creek, Florida, and it’s increasingly becoming the policy of other major firearms dealers, including WalMart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“And I asked him, it’s the first question I ask everybody, ‘How old are you?’” the owner, Razi, told Local10 News, the ABC News affiliate. “And I believe he said, ‘Oh, I’m over 18.’ I said, ‘Are you under 21?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘I don’t sell any firearms to under the age of 21.’”

He said the 19-year-old Cruz argued with him, but the firearms dealer, who asked not to have his last name used, told him he was worried about school shooters.

“I said, ‘Because I don’t need an 18-year-old to buy a weapon and clear out his high school with it, not if I have anything to do with it,’” Razi said. “That’s what I tell him, and It’s not just him, I tell that to every kid who comes here to buy weapons.”

He said he learned of the shooting while he was traveling in Israel, and after finding the confessed shooter’s photo online, “I said, ‘Yep, I knew he was in my store.’”

The confessed shooter was ultimately able to purchase firearms legally elsewhere before opening fire Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, leaving 17 dead.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has called for raising the gun-buying age from 18 to 21, but the trend is also meeting with resistance.

A 20-year-old Oregon man filed lawsuits this month against Dick’s and WalMart for age discrimination after they refused to sell him firearms, the Oregonian reported.

Nikolas Cruz later gave the pawn shop a bad review online: “Very judgemental and denied me customer service.”

“I have chills really coming down my spine,” Razi said. “I mean, thank God I have not sold this monster a weapon.”

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