Vista Outdoor's brands include Giro, Camelbak, Blackburn, and Savage Arms.
Amidst the heated gun control debate that's currently taking place in North America in the wake of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, sporting goods retailers and consumers are facing difficult decisions concerning the brands they purchase from.
Vista Outdoor, the parent company of Bell, Giro, Blackburn, and Camelbak, also lists Savage Arms, a rifle and shotgun manufacturer, and Federal Ammunition among its brands. This, along with Vista Outdoor's support of the National Rifle Association, has spurred a social media uproar along with boycotts and petitions urging retailers and consumers to cease their support of the company and its affiliated brands.
After a petition on Change.org that was created with the goal of convincing Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) to stop selling products made by Vista Outdoor received over 50,000 signatures, MEC, Canada's largest outdoor retailer, decided to stop any orders with the Vista Outdoor brands (Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, Jimmy Styks) that they carried. In an open letter
, David Labistour, MEC's CEO, wrote, "I hope that you will see that the decision we made today is balanced and considered and positions us to inspire a wider discussion throughout our industry and North America."
Vista is a relatively new owner of Bell, Giro, and Blackburn – they purchased the companies in 2016
from BRG Sports for $400 million, while Camelbak was purchased in 2015
for $412.5 million from Compass Diversified Holdings.
Many of the employees of the cycling-related companies worked for the brands before they were owned by a parent company with ties to the NRA.
On the other side of the debate, the NRA released this response to the growing number of companies who have cut ties with the organization: “Some corporations have decided to punish NRA membership in a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced by others who recognize that patriotism and determined commitment to Constitutional freedoms are characteristics of a marketplace they very much want to serve.”
Along with the petitions, several bike shops have taken steps to support the boycott. Erik Tonkin, the owner of Sellwood Cycles
in Portland, Oregon, issued the following statement: “Sellwood Cycle Repair will support a boycott of Vista Outdoor. This means we will not buy products from Bell, Giro, Blackburn and CoPilot — and that we could even return existing inventory, which is substantial.”
Editor's Note: the gun control debate is an extremely contentious issue. Comments that devolve into name-calling, trolling, and hate speech will not be tolerated.
Updated 3/1/18, 9:00am PST to reflect MEC's decision to stop carrying Vista Outdoor brands.