Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) moved to distance itself from gun manufacturer Vista Outdoor on Thursday in response to feedback from its members after the school shooting in Florida last month in which 17 people were killed.
Vista Outdoor makes guns and ammunition including rapid-fire semi-automatic weapons; however, MEC doesn’t sell such products.
In a letter to its members from CEO David Labistour, the MEC said it is immediately suspending any further orders with the five brands owned by Vista Outdoor (Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, Jimmy Styks). Any existing inventory will remain on their shelves until it sells.
“Thousands of MEC members have contacted us to express their concerns and to ask that we stop selling products made by these brands. We’ve also heard from members who believe that purchasing decisions like these should be left to individual consumers and that MEC should not get involved,” wrote Labistour.
Labistour notes that he can identify with members on both sides of the debate, as he has “witnessed the use and impact of guns first-hand,” served in the military, and grew up in a rural area with hunting being a common activity.
“I hope that you will see that the decision we made today is balanced and considered and positions us to inspire a wider discussion throughout our industry and North America,” Labistour said.
Major U.S. retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and more have pledged to stop selling weapons and ammunition to people under the age of 21, according to the CBC.
Another update from MEC pic.twitter.com/ZAs7xQoNAu
— MEC (@mec) February 28, 2018
Other companies have ended discounts for National Rifle Association members including MetLife and car rental companies Enterprise, Alamo, and National.
Students at the Florida school went back to school yesterday for the first time since the shooting on Valentine’s Day. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on Mar. 14 to examine the shooting and start to figure out what new gun control proposals are politically feasible, according to reporting from Politico.
MEC, a retail co-op with 5 million members, has 22 stores across Canada.