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article imageMore outdoors retailers joining the 'sea of change' over guns

By Karen Graham     Mar 2, 2018 in Politics
Freeport - Dick's, Walmart, and Kroger have all tightened their rules regarding gun sales since the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now consumers are taking on outdoors retailers like MEC, REI, and LL Bean.
On Thursday, L.L. Bean announced that after reviewing its policy on firearm sales, it would "no longer be selling guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21." L.L. Bean is a privately-held company with has 37 stores in 17 states, but only its main flagship store in Freeport, Maine, has a license to sell firearms.
But as Business Insider is reporting, L.L. Bean's shift in policy is evidence of "a sea change in customers' expectations of retailers that sell guns." Consumers are taking to social media to contact outdoor sporting goods retailers, begging them to sever ties with firearms companies.
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L.L. Bean
The sea of change
Just two weeks after the Parkland school shooting, Dick's Sporting Goods discontinued the sale of all assault-style rifles, high capacity magazines and bump stocks, as well as restricting the sale of firearms to people over the age of 21.
One day later, on February 29, 2018, Walmart announced it would raise the required age to buy all guns and ammo to 21 and require background checks on all purchasers. The retailer also stopped the sale of all air rifles and toys that look like assault rifles on its website and called for tougher gun control measures.
Then, on March 1, Kroger announced it would stop selling guns and ammunition to people under 21 at it's Fred Meyer locations. Kroger does not sell guns in its grocery stores. The Kroger announcement was followed by Vancouver, British Columbia-based Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) who announced Thursday they will stop selling merchandise from Vista Outdoors.
While MEC does not sell firearms, they do carry Vista-owned brands including Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak and Jimmy Styks, and has done so for years, even before the brands were acquired by Vista. Vista carries Savage Arms and sells what it calls modern sporting rifles.
In addition to L.L. Bean's announcement on Thursday, Kent, Washington-based Recreational Equipment, Inc., commonly known as REI, is suspending its partnerships with Vista Outdoors, according to KIRO7 News. Like Canada's MEC, REI does not sell firearms but does sell outdoor products from companies that VistaOutdoors owns.
REI location at the Streets of Tanasbourne in Hillsboro  Oregon.
REI location at the Streets of Tanasbourne in Hillsboro, Oregon.
M.O. Stevens
“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. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership,” REI said in a statement.
“This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds. Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.”
Bottom line? This sea of change now leaves Bass Pro Shops/Cabellas, independent gun shops, and gun shows are the only remaining places semi-automatic assault rifles are sold in the US.
More about gun debate, School shooting, ll bean, REI, minimum age to 21