Canada's MEC distances itself from U.S. gun and ammunition maker

Posted Mar 1, 2018 by Karen Graham
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) announced Thursday they will stop selling merchandise from Vista Outdoors, an American sports, and recreation company that also develops and manufactures firearms and ammunition.
The MEC store at 130 West Broadway  Vancouver  British Columbia.
The MEC store at 130 West Broadway, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mountain Equipment Co-op
MEC does not sell guns, but has carried Vista-owned brands including Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak and Jimmy Styks, and has done so for years, even before the brands were acquired by Vista.
MEC made its decision to distance themselves from Vista after hearing from thousands of its members, concerned over the latest school shooting on February 14 in Florida. MEC is a co-operative that sells only to customers who hold a lifetime membership, which is technically a share of the company. MEC is well-known for its commitment to environmental protection and other causes.
MEC chief executive David Labistour issued a statement Thursday morning saying he had heard the calls to boycott the brands. But in his statement, Labistour also said he had heard from a number of members who believe a decision to boycott a brand is a something that should be left to individual consumers.
Bushnell scopes on display at an arms and hunting exhibition in 2010.
Bushnell scopes on display at an arms and hunting exhibition in 2010.
Vitaly V. Kuzmin
The power of engagement is the path to change
“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. He added that the existing inventory will remain on shelves until it has sold.
Labistour said he had served in the military and grew up in a rural area where hunting was commonplace, reports the Vancouver Sun. "I can readily identify with our members who are on all sides of this debate. At the same time, my personal experience has taught me about the power of engagement. I believe that engagement is the path to change, as tough as it might be.”
It's been [a] really good exercise internally in taking the facts and coming up with an opinion that we believe is both balanced, and fair, and right," Labistour told CBC News in an interview Thursday.
Customer Mary Ann Johnson says she's glad to support a store that made that decision. "I absolutely agree with that," she told the CBC News outside the MEC store in downtown Toronto. "I'm so thrilled that finally, they're listening to what most people ... are saying.
ArmaLite AR-15 with flash hider and early 25-round magazine. Photo taken in 2004.
Source: Springfie...
ArmaLite AR-15 with flash hider and early 25-round magazine. Photo taken in 2004. Source: Springfield Armory National Historic Site Archives, United States National Park Service.
Via Wikimedia
About Vista Outdoors
Vista Outdoor Inc. is an American publicly traded "designer, manufacturer, and marketer" of outdoor sports and recreation products. It operates in two segments, shooting sports and outdoor products, as a "house of brands" with more than 30 labels and subsidiaries.
Vista was created in 2015 from a spinoff of aerospace and defense firm Alliant Techsystems Inc.Most of the company's brands are associated with shooting and hunting. Their products include the Savage Arms line of rifles, Estate Cartridge line of shotshells, M-Pro7 Gun Cleaning System, Gunslick Pro line of gun care products, and Force on Force training ammunition.
The company also makes gear for camping, hiking, skiing, and biking such as flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, helmets, goggles, GPS locators, and other outdoor products.