A major Canadian outdoor retail chain said Thursday it will stop selling products from a U.S. company that manufactures guns and ammunition.
Mountain Equipment Co-op, known as MEC, said it would stop carrying products from Vista Outdoor, a sprawling outdoor sports and recreation company that manufactures gun products, including assault-style rifles. 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 U.S. gun-maker.
“The issue of gun violence and questions surrounding responsible gun use, ownership and manufacturing have made headlines around the world,” David Labistour, the Canadian chain’s CEO, wrote in a statement. “While these issues are seemingly unrelated to MEC, it has recently come to light that several brands MEC sells are owned by a corporation that has holdings in the manufacture of assault-style weapons.”
MEC joins several major U.S. retailers, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, in revising their policies in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Labistour said thousands of the co-op chain’s members pressured the company to ditch Vista following the Parkland massacre. He acknowledged some customers felt the company should let them decide whether to buy from certain brands.
“On a very personal note, many of us come from parts of the world where we have witnessed the use and impact of guns first-hand,” Labistour wrote. “I include myself in that community. I have proudly served in the military and grew up in a rural area where hunting was commonplace. I can readily identify with our members who are on all sides of this debate.”
Representatives from Vista did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.