The tragic school shooting in Florida in which 17 people were killed continues to have repercussions in the U.S., but now also in Canada. A well-known high-end outdoor equipment store in this country announced this morning it will end its relationship with a large holding company associated with guns.
The Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) chain says it will no longer carry Vista Outdoor products,.
Vista Outdoor Products is the parent owner of a wide variety of companies like Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, and Jimmy Styks. outdoors products These companies make things like sunglasses, binoculars and opticals, water bottles and hydration packs, camp stoves and barbeques, and paddleboards.
Vista also owns the Savage Arms company. Savage Arms in turn makes several types of rifle including modern semi-automatic sporting rifles invariably mislabelled as an “assault rifle”.
In a statement on the MEC website, CEO David Lavistour said in part
“Thousands of MEC members have contacted us to express their concerns and to ask that we stop selling products made by these brands. We’ve also heard from members who believe that purchasing decisions like these should be left to individual consumers and that MEC should not get involved. The fact is, the debate has involved us and as a member-based organization we are compelled to respond”.
Canada’s various firearms hobby groups have expressed surprise and disappointment with the corporate decision
Tracey Wilson, spokeswoman for the Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights (CCFR) said in statements sent to RCI this morning.
“Everyone feels like they want to “do something” when a tragedy occurs, but until we are ready to have the difficult conversations about what is causing the tragedy to begin with, this kind of action is futile and insulting to tens of millions of outdoor adventure enthusiasts, hunters and sport shooters who have literally done nothing wrong.
Millions of Canadians hunt and sport shoot safely every day, multi millions more enjoy the use of products like Bushnell, Bolle and Camelbak while simply partaking in outdoor adventure activities. Having large retailers succumb to social media pressure, however misguided it is, should be concerning to everyone.
Judging an entire community of outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and sport shooters for the actions of a madman is pure politicization, pure virtue signalling, and a knee-jerk reaction to an extremely emotionally charged issue”.
Tony Bernando, executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) also responded to the MEC decision saying,
“In our free society, MEC has the right to conduct their business operations in any way they choose. Additionally, our members have the right to take their business to any retailer they choose. We are confident that Canadians will continue to buy such ubiquitous Vista brands such as Bushnell at the many other retailers that will continue to sell their products. MEC has sent out their virtue-signal and it is a rejection of the 2.2 million honest and trustworthy Canadians that lawfully own firearms”.
It should be noted that although the U.S is now talking about measures such as background checks of gun purchases, extensive and detailed background checks of potential buyers by Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been the norm in Canada for years.
Also purchasers of guns in Canada must follow a mandatory course to obtain a firearms licence and thus are themselves “registered”.
Depending on the model, some modern semi-automatics in the AR style are restricted (a secondary licencing requirement) and some are not.
Actual assault rifles, ie with automatic function) have been banned in Canada for decades. Magazine capacity in semi-auto rifles must also be “pinned” (i.e physically limited) to 5 bullets capacity only.
U.S politicians are expected to announce new firearms policies in coming days. Major U.S retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Dicks Sporting Goods have raised the minimum age for gun and ammunition purchases to 21. Walmart stopped selling AR style guns in 2015, Dick’s said it will also now stop selling AR style guns. Kroger also owns the Fred Meyer chain and stopped selling AR style guns at the stores located in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington several years ago.