Seattle-based REI (for Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is the latest company to display an anti-gun-rights attitude, announcing Thursday that it has “placed a hold on future orders with Vista Outdoor brands, such as CamelBak and Giro” because Vista also owns gun and ammunition companies.
Seattle is considered the Northwest capitol of political “snowflake” liberals. They may be cringing Friday morning because of the disclosure that President Donald Trump met Thursday night with National Rifle Association executives and Vice President Mike Pence. This came 24 hours after the highly-publicized Wednesday meeting between Trump and Capitol Hill leaders from both parties on guns and school violence.
For a whole day, gun rights activists burned up social media accusing the president of having betrayed them. Then came this tweet from NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox:
Meanwhile, REI may have solidified its position with self-proclaimed “progressives” by taking a swipe at a couple of Vista subsidiaries that have nothing to do with guns or ammunition. In a statement, REI declared:
“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. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.
“This week, we have been in active discussions with Vista Outdoor, which has recently acquired several companies that are longtime partners of REI. These include Giro, Bell, Camelbak, Camp Chef and Blackburn. Vista also owns Savage Arms, which manufactures guns including “modern sporting rifles.”
“This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. 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.
“Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.”
The announcement came after a veritable roller coaster ride for the National Rifle Association, and by default, the entire Second Amendment community as several companies announced they were ending “NRA discounts.” L.L. Bean announced it would no longer sell guns to anyone under age 21, as did Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart.
Posting on Facebook, one pro-Second Amendment REI customer, Ken Akerman, questioned the company’s move:
Why is REI cutting ties with a major outdoor retailer just because its parent company includes gun and ammo manufacturers and has ties with the NRA? Since I hike, climb, ski, and participate in many other outdoor activities, it alarms me that REI is not supporting its vendors that do produce products that are vital to our safety and security and protected by the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What is wrong with REI?”
Coincidentally, Vista reported Friday morning that another of its subsidiaries, Federal Cartridge, has landed a contracted with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for up to 180 million rounds of .40-caliber Tactical HST duty ammunition for “multiple Department of Homeland Security law enforcement components and other federal agencies for up to five (5) years.”
Federal also announced that its new Power-Shok Copper ammunition, featuring a non-lead bullet, is now available with a 120-grain projectile for the .300 Blackout. This round features the Catalyst lead-free primer.
Another Vista subsidiary, Savage Arms, has introduced the Model 110 Varmint rifle. It’s a bolt-action model featuring an AccuFit system, AccuStock and AccuTrigger. The rifle has a 26-inch heavy barrel with button rifling – a term typical REI customers probably won’t understand – and a detachable 4-round box magazine. The rifle is chambered for the .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington and .204 Ruger cartridges.
One will not find Savage rifles, or any other firearm or ammunition, on sale at an REI store. It is not likely any firearms or ammunition company will presume to dictate to REI how it runs its business.