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Gun Debate: REI Places 'Hold' On Vista's CamelBak, Other Brands

Gun Debate: REI Places 'Hold' On Vista's CamelBak, Other Brands

"Although Running Room does not sell or condone the sale of firearms or ammunitions like some large multi-branded retailers, we do sell brands that are owned by a corporation that has holdings in the manufacture of assault-style weapons", the Running Room statement reads.

"We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month", the company said in a statement announcing the change in the relationship status with Vista. Over the past week, consumer frustrations have mounted as information came out connecting Vista Outdoor with campaign donations to politicians who oppose gun regulation and public lands protection.

"Thousands of MEC members have contacted us to express their concerns and to ask that we stop selling products made by these brands", David Labistour, MEC's chief executive, wrote in a letter posted Thursday.

The co-ops do not sell guns, but had stocked camping and outdoor gear from other brands owned by Utah-based Vista Outdoor Inc, including CamelBak, Bollé and Jimmy Styks.

Vista did not return an email seeking comment.

As you may know, in the wake of the recent tragic shooting at a Florida school, there have been calls on social media for a boycott of CamelBak products because of its association with Vista Outdoor, a company that also owns separate businesses in the shooting sports industry.

REI, like its Canadian co-op cohort MEC has chose to suspend orders of Vista Outdoor products because of the company's connection to the firearms industry. "When people saw the opportunity to speak up and to engage the organization that they are a member of, they took that opportunity and the outcome is what was desired, which is just incredible". A similar petition for Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op got 54,194 signatures.

The gun control debate that ignited across the nation in a bid to restrict the use of weapon, propelled USA stores like Walmart, Dicks, L.L. Bean and Kroger Co.to stop selling assault rifles.

Vista Outdoor owns 50 brands, of which 13 make either guns - including Savage - ammunition or gun accessories.

Mountain Equipment Co-op, known as MEC, said in a statement that it will stop carrying Vista Outdoor products.

Shares of Vista have fallen nearly 19 percent to $15.91 since the February 14 attack.

REI said it has been in "active discussions" with Vista this week. Seventeen people were killed in the mass-shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He acknowledged some customers felt the company should let them decide whether to buy from certain brands. Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. said this week it would no longer sell assault-style rifles in its Field & Stream stores. That year, Vista Outdoor paid US$400-million for CamelBak, as it tried to diversify away from guns and ammo. It operates in two segments, shooting sports and outdoor products, as a "house of brands" with more than 30 labels and subsidiaries.

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