March 18, 2018

Edmonton-based Running Room drops CamelBaks over gun company ties

03 March 2018, 05:02 | Kenneth Drake

Canadian Outdoor Retailer Drops Products From US Company That Makes Guns

Canadian outdoor store bows to pressure on guns

Two weeks ago, 17 people lost their lives in a senseless and tragic school shooting in the U.S. The issue of gun violence and questions surrounding responsible gun use, ownership and manufacturing have made headlines around the world.

In its 2017 annual report to investors, the company expressed concern about the possibility that Congress or state lawmakers could succeed in passing gun-control measures, affecting Vista's revenue.

David Labistour announced Thursday that MEC will stop selling several outdoor equipment brands owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which is also a gun manufacturer.

MEC- is a high-end outdoors chain.

"Shooting sports" make up 54% of Vista's external sales revenue, in brands including Savage Arms and Federal Premium Ammunition.

CamelBak water bottles, Bell bicycle helmets, Giro ski goggles - what these products have in common is that they're owned by Vista Outdoor, which includes gun and ammo makers among its brands as well as a strong National Rifle Association connection. Savage Arms in turn makes several types of rifle including modern semi-automatic sporting rifles invariably mislabelled as an "assault rifle". That segment manufacturers a variety of guns, including AR-15-style rifles.

"Given the recent massacre of high school students in Parkland, Fla., MEC is facing an urgent ethical obligation: to act in accordance with its 'mission and values,"' reads the petition, which had been signed by about 900 people as of late Monday afternoon.

Labistour said in a telephone interview Thursday that he listened to a spectrum of opinions, ranging from boycotting the brand to leaving the decision to individual consumers. "MEC prides itself on being a thoughtful organization that looks at the whole system based on the facts and information at hand. That is not the case", CamelBak's statement said.

"Everyone feels like they want to "do something" when a tragedy occurs, but until we are ready to have the hard conversations about what is causing the tragedy to begin with, this kind of action is futile and insulting to tens of millions of outdoor adventure enthusiasts, hunters and sport shooters who have literally done nothing wrong".

Instead, it will simply let CamelBak stock run dry. Having large retailers succumb to social media pressure, however misguided it is, should be concerning to everyone.

"In our free society, MEC has the right to conduct their business operations in any way they choose. As a result, we have made a decision to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds". "MEC has sent out their virtue-signal and it is a rejection of the 2.2 million honest and trustworthy Canadians that lawfully own firearms". The co-op doesn't actually sell guns, but had been selling the Vista Outdoor-related products.

U.S politicians are expected to announce new firearms policies in coming days.

A number of USA stores have recently changed their gun policies by raising the age bar for buyers to over 21 years and taking the assault rifle AR-15 - which was used to kill 17 people in the parkland Florida shooting last month - off their shelves.

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