REI suspends orders from Vista Outdoor over refusal to take action on guns

REI and L.L. Bean became the latest companies to take action on the gun debate following the Florida school shooting. 

REI doesn't sell guns, but company officials say they're stopping orders on some products which have the parent corporation Vista Outdoor, which includes their brand, Savage Arms, a gun retailer.

REI says popular products such as Camelbak water packs, bicycle helmets made by Bell and Giro brands, and camping stoves by Camp Chef are among the products they will no longer be ordering.

In a statement, REI says gun companies need to help solve the gun violence problem. "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,” the company said.

There has been a string of retailers taking action. Dicks Sporting Goods, Walmart, Kroger and L.L. Bean say they will restrict gun sales. L.L. Bean in a tweet said they will "no longer be selling guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21."

"I think it's probably a good idea for corporations to stand up for their values," said Jan Lustig of Oakland.

Some people feel businesses should not take political stands. But UC Berkeley Haas business school professor Kellie McElhaney says some companies see it as important to their brand images and values.

"You do have an increasing stakeholder demand, a consumer demand to take a stand," said McElhaney.

McElhaney says companies can respond more quickly than lawmakers and often have a big impact. 

"Walmart is the number one Fortune 500 entity of the world. So they have more cash, they have more power than 30 percent of the countries in the world. So when they speak out, they have a significant impact," said McElhaney. 

She believes that as the gun debate intensifies, more companies will likely take stands. 

"We need to have this public transparent debate from both sides and we need to have voices represented from all sides of this issue to truly move forward in making decisions," said McElhaney.

KTVU reached out to Vista Outdoors for their reaction to REI's business decision. We continue to await their response.