Outdoor retailers stop selling major outdoor brands over parent company's NRA ties
© Greg Nash

Two major outdoor retailers are cutting ties with a large outdoor sporting goods company over its connections to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its production of assault-style weapons following last month’s school shooting in Florida.

In a statement posted to its website Thursday, REI, a large outdoor recreation co-op, announced it would place a hold on orders from Vista Outdoor following last month’s shooting.

“REI does not sell guns. 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,” the company said. “In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.”

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“This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action,” the statement continued. “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.”

A smaller outdoor recreation co-op, Mountain Equipment Co-op of Canada, was the first to announce it was cutting ties with Vista over its production of assault-style weapons after thousands of its members called on the company to take action.

Vista owns a number of top outdoor recreation brands, including CamelBak, Giro and Bell.

The company also has a “shooting sports” division, which sells a line of semi-automatic rifles, ammunition and gun accessories.

Its shooting brands also include Federal Premium Ammunition, which sponsors the NRA’s online video channel, NRATV, according to The Washington Post. Vista has also been a prominent vendor at the NRA’s annual gun show.

REI’s statement came after thousands of REI members signed an online petition calling on the company to sever ties with Vista.

The two co-ops join a host of other retailers taking action following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month that left 17 people dead and more than a dozen injured.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced this week it would no longer sell assault-style weapons, and Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean have each announced they would raise the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 years of age to 21.