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Vista Outdoor explores stopping firearm sales

By
Susan McFarland
Protesters fill Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., March 24 during the March for Our Lives rally -- at which tens of thousands demanded action to end gun violence. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Protesters fill Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., March 24 during the March for Our Lives rally -- at which tens of thousands demanded action to end gun violence. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

May 1 (UPI) -- Vista Outdoor, as part of a transformation plan, said Tuesday it's considering leaving the firearm business -- in the aftermath of multiple high-profile shooting incidents.

The company said in a statement the new plan will focus on core brands and outdoor cooking products.

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Vista, one of the largest U.S. ammunition makers, said it also plans to explore strategic options for products that fall outside of those categories, which includes Savage and Stevens firearms. It also said it's looking to sell its firearm manufacturing business.

Vista Outdoor is has come under criticism for continuing gun sales after the Feb. 14 shooting attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Seventeen people died in the assault.

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"Our review identified product categories that are core to the company's long-term business strategy," said Vista CEO Chris Metz. "We believe future investment should focus on categories where Vista Outdoor can achieve sustainable growth, maximize operational efficiencies, deliver leadership economics, and drive shareholder value."

The company began a strategic review in November to evaluate whether individual product categories are part of the company's target consumer -- the outdoor enthusiast.

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In March, U.S. outdoor retailer REI joined a growing list of companies to take a stance againt gun violence. REI does not sell guns, but it put a hold on selling products from companies owned by Vista Outdoor.

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Last month, amid a national gun debate, investment company BlackRock announced new fund options that will not include shares of gun makers and large firearm retailers -- which included Vista Outdoor.

Several other companies like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart have also made policy changes concerning the sale of firearms.

Vista said this month fourth quarter sales dropped 1 percent from a year earlier, and its profit fell 24 percent -- caused by lower ammunition prices and more promotions and rebates.

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