Shortly after the Parkland, Florida tragedy, we made some difficult decisions and sent a letter to Vista Outdoor, the parent company of Bell Sport, Giro, Camelbak, Blackburn, and other outdoors manufacturers, with an appeal regarding their NRA relationship.
Our decision was to join others like Dick's Sporting Goods, REI, and Mountain Equipment Co-op in ceasing to carry products under the Vista umbrella.
These brands have long been staples of our business, and rightfully so. We have always enjoyed stellar relationships with our sales reps—the hard-working people on the ground—and it is not without regret and sadness that we must suspend these relationships.
We understand that all of you may not agree. We ask that you consider our position objectively, as we also respect your view and reach a compromise.
These are the views of Mellow Johnny's in Austin, Texas. They do not necessarily represent the views of any other Mellow Johnny's location.
Below is the text from the letter we sent to Vista Outdoor on February 28. Thus far, we have not received a response.
February 28, 2018
262 N. University Avenue
Farmington, Utah 84025
To the Stakeholders and Leadership of Vista Outdoor,
In light of the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, we cannot ignore the fact that Vista Outdoor is a longtime supporter of the NRA. While historically it has made sense to support an organization that—at one time—advocated for sport shooting, hunting, and general outdoor preservation, it has become clear that the NRA has become deaf to the public safety issue that mass casualty weapons present. We continue to see these weapons used for the sole purpose of mass murder, and we continue to see inaction and staunch resistance to the management of these weapons by the NRA. The NRA’s focus has become tragically single-minded in its defense of all weapons, regardless of the imbalance between usefulness and lethality.
We ask that Vista Outdoor stop funding the NRA. Supporting the organization is misdirected and outdated, and there are many other ways to advocate for outdoors initiatives—including hunting and shooting—in the modern world. Meanwhile, we admire the courage and action that fellow retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI, among others, have taken toward safety and reason.
We appreciate the many noble associations you have with youth sports and shooting organizations like Boy Scouts, 4H, QDMA, mentorship programs and many others. These champion youth shooting safety, wildlife appreciation, and outdoor advocacy in a positive an impactful way that appears at odds with the NRA’s current path.
At this time, we are prepared to cease business with Vista brands Giro, Bell, Blackburn, and Camelbak, with whom we’ve spent a significant number of dollars over a decade. Although we enjoy the quality of the products and the relationship with our sales channels, we cannot in good conscience perpetuate the support of the NRA.
We look forward to hearing that Vista Outdoor takes a positive step toward public safety and withdraws NRA support.
The Stakeholders and Management of Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, Austin, Texas