Vista Outdoor, U.S. firm dropped by MEC after school shooting, to exit gun manufacturing

A U.S. outdoor gear company that was dropped by Canadian retailer MEC in the wake of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School School massacre plans to exit the gun manufacturing business.

Vista Outdoor Inc., which is based in Farmington, Utah, said Tuesday it will look at selling its Savage and Stevens firearm brands. 

Vista said it plans to hang on to its main business — making ammunition — along with some other product lines, including hydration bottles and packs, and outdoor cooking gear.

Vista is also looking for buyers for some of its other brands, including bicycle equipment labels Bell, Giro and Blackburn, and Jimmy Styks paddle boards.

Although MEC doesn’t sell firearms or ammunition, it came under consumer pressure to drop Vista Outdoor brands following the Florida school shooting. 

The Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Fla., left 17 students and teachers dead, and another 17 people injured. Former student Nikolas Cruz faces 17 counts of premeditated murder.

MEC announced on March 1 it would be halting all orders of Vista products, and that current inventory would remain on its shelves until it ran out. MEC has been selling some of the brands, including Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak and Jimmy Styks, for years, even before Vista acquired them. 

“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,” MEC CEO David Labistour told CBC News at the time.

MEC couldn’t be reached immediately for comment following the latest move by Vista to exit gun manufacturing.

U.S. outdoor retail chain REI halted all orders from Vista in March after it refused to say if it would continue to manufacture weapons. Some other U.S. retailers, including Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., said following the school shooting that they would no longer sell guns to anyone under the age of 21.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vista is already selling its sporting eyewear brands, and hopes to sell the other brands by the end of its 2020 fiscal year.

SOURCE: CBC.ca

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