Outdoor leisure co-ops suspend goods from company linked to gun maker


On Thursday, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) - a Vancouver-based adventure-retailer store - said it will no longer sell any products owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which also produces guns and ammunition in addition to other products.

It also sells assault-rifle-style "modern sporting" rifles, tactical gear and assorted gun accessories and is best known as an ammunition supplier. Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods announced similar measures on Wednesday, while Dick's also stopped selling assault-style rifles.

Sarah Latha, who launched the petition, says it collected more than 50,000 signatures.

REI noted that it does not sell guns, but said gun manufacturers and retailers need to "work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month", according to a statement released Thursday. In the last few days, we've seen such action from companies like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.

Last week other USA companies, including airlines, insurers and vehicle rental chains, said they were ending promotions with the National Rifle Association lobbying group, revealing a partial shift in United States gun politics amid fervent student-led activism and intense social media campaigns.

"This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action", the statement continued.

For the sake of transparency, Monopoint Media, a company that previously shared resources with GearJunkie, worked with Vista Outdoor on a project in 2015. These include Giro, Bell, Camelbak, Camp Chef and Blackburn. "We encourage Vista to do just that".

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Internet petitions called on US co-op REI and Canada's Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) to drop goods from Vista Outdoor, which owns Savage Arms, a company which makes rapid-fire semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines.

It will now drop sales of a wide-variety of outdoor products from the Vista company due to Vista's ownership of a gun maker.

The debate about Vista Outdoor has been heated. They also said they will stop selling firearms and ammunitions to people below the age of 21. It operates in two segments, shooting sports and outdoor products, as a "house of brands" with more than 30 labels and subsidiaries.

"A major concern for the boycott centers around the incorrect assumption that the purchase of any of our products may support a cause that does not fit the mission/values of our brand", the company said in a statement.

Labistour asks, "what can a Canadian retail co-operative with more than five million members, a business that exists to get people active outdoors, do to effect positive change while continuing to ensure that we serve our members' needs?"

"We speak about living in an exponential world", Mr. Labistour said in an interview.

Mr. Labistour said MEC doesn't have any control of the issue, but the co-op's decision-making could have a small influence on a conversation around the need for greater gun control. The parent company, meanwhile, said nothing and did not respond to requests for comment.