MEC store Canada
Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op said it will cease selling products made by U.S. assault rifle producing store Vista Outdoor Inc. The above picture depicts, interior of MEC's store on King Street West in Toronto, June 10, 2015. Getty

On Thursday, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) — a Vancouver-based adventure-retailer store — said it will no longer sell any products owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which also produces guns and ammunition in addition to other products.

In an open letter on Thursday, the CEO of the Canadian company, David Labistour, announced it will cease selling products from five outdoor activity brands owned by Vista Outdoor Inc.

In the letter, Labistour said, “Two weeks ago, 17 people lost their lives in a senseless and tragic school shooting in the U.S. The issue of gun violence and questions surrounding responsible gun use, ownership and manufacturing have made headlines around the world. While these issues are seemingly unrelated to MEC, it has recently come to light that several brands MEC sells are owned by a corporation that has holdings in the manufacture of assault-style weapons.”

MEC, widely regarded as a store for outdoor gear, have never sold weapons in their store. The Canadian retailer sells helmets and water bottles from Vista-owned brands such as Camp Chef and Jimmy Styks. MEC said it will stop selling any new products from Vista, which also owns Savage Arms that makes assault rifles. However, the existing products of Vista in the Canadian store will not be taken off the shelves immediately but will remain in place till they are sold.

Labistour said, “ Effective immediately, suspend any further orders with the five brands owned by Vista Outdoor which we carry (Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, Jimmy Styks). Existing inventory will remain on our shelves until it has sold through.”

Although MEC has severed ties with one of the major corporations in the U.S., it said it will continue to work with companies whose values align with that of MEC, which believes in “demonstrating leadership and leveraging the power of community.”

“We welcome opportunities to engage with other organizations to help build consensus around the potential for constructive social impact related to purchasing,” Labistour added.

A number of U.S. stores have recently changed their gun policies by raising the age bar for buyers to over 21 years and taking the assault rifle AR-15 — which was used to kill 17 people in the parkland Florida shooting last month — off their shelves.

The mass shooting spurred a debate on U.S. gun control and it has now spilled across the border into Canada, where more than 50,000 people signed an online petition urging MEC, which has over five million members, to sever ties with U.S. gunmakers.

The gun control debate that ignited across the nation in a bid to restrict the use of weapon, propelled U.S. stores like Walmart, Dicks, L.L. Bean and Kroger Co. to stop selling assault rifles. They also said they will stop selling firearms and ammunitions to people below the age of 21.

Companies like Delta Air Lines and Hertz Global Holdings have also cut ties with the National Rifle Association.