Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

REI Stops Selling 50 NRA-Linked Brands

REI Stops Selling 50 NRA-Linked Brands

MEC, based in Vancouver, sells neither firearms nor ammunition, but said it would quit selling five brands owned by Vista, including CamelBak, Bollé and Bushnell, in an effort to distance itself from the USA gun-maker.

Vista owns around 50 different brands including Bell Helmets, Copilot, Camp Chef, JimmyStyks and other outdoor gear makers and of course - Savage Arms.

MEC joins several major US retailers, including Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart, in revising their policies in the wake of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In a related development, retailer L.L. Bean said it would no longer sell guns or ammo to anyone under the age of 21, a policy change also made this week by Kroger (KR) and Walmart (WMT).

A number of USA companies have changed their gun-sale policies after a gunman armed with a semi-automatic AR-15-style assault rifle killed 17 people at a Florida high school last month.

Earlier today, Canadian retailer MEC announced it would stop orders for products from the Vista Outdoor family of brands.

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In the wake of a consumer petition, REI announced it will place a hold on future orders of products from Vista Outdoor.

It should be noted that although the U.S is now talking about measures such as background checks of gun purchases, extensive and detailed background checks of potential buyers by Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been the norm in Canada for years.

Retail heavyweights Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods have taken steps to restrict gun sales.

"This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action", the statement continued. We are confident that Canadians will continue to buy such ubiquitous Vista brands such as Bushnell at the many other retailers that will continue to sell their products. Our brand falls within the Outdoor Products segment of our company, which operates separately from Vista Outdoor's Shooting Sports segment. Their products include the Savage Arms line of rifles, Estate Cartridge line of shotshells, M-Pro7 Gun Cleaning System, Gunslick Pro line of gun care products, and Force on Force training ammunition. Vista has also been a prominent vendor at the NRA's annual gun show.

For the sake of transparency, Monopoint Media, a company that previously shared resources with GearJunkie, worked with Vista Outdoor on a project in 2015.

If enacted, such legislation could effectively ban or severely limit the sale of affected firearms or ammunition.

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In its annual report, the company said "we could find it hard, expensive or even practically impossible to comply with" firearm or ammo restrictions imposed by the government. We can not assure you that the regulation of our business activities will not become more restrictive in the future and that any such restriction will not have a material adverse effect on our business.

The mass shooting spurred a debate on US gun control and it has now spilled across the border into Canada, where more than 50,000 people signed an online petition urging MEC, which has over five million members, to sever ties with USA gunmakers. Still, it chose to stop carrying several popular products, because their corporate owner was in the guns business. "There is no other objective for guns except to kill". MEC is a co-operative that sells only to customers who hold a lifetime membership, which is technically a share of the company. "REI does not need to associate with companies that are keeping gun manufacturers afloat".

"We are in the midst of a complex and highly charged debate with as many opinions as there are people expressing them", Labistour wrote. Labistour said he had served in the military and grew up in a rural area where hunting was commonplace, reports the Vancouver Sun.

But he also believes that in the power of engagement and thinks it's the path to change, so has tabled a few questions for MEC's millions of members. The high-end chain says its members want it to stop selling Vista products because of an association with a gunmaker.

"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", it said. "That is not the case".

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