Update May 5, 2018:
Vista Brands has announced plans to sell off its firearms businesses, including the division that made the highly lethal assault-style weapons. Given that they are a public company, such an announcement is extremely significant and will almost certainly occur. Vista also announced plans to sell off its Bell/Giro businesses. They will continue to make ammunition and accessories for hunting.
We believe this is a substantial step that was highly motivated by the public outcry and outdoor industry pressure. It sends a message to the NRA that other voices can speak loudly and effect change in America. I am proud of our efforts and significant sacrifices in this stand.
Given these events, we will resume our relationship with Vista Brands. Camelback, Bell, Giro, Blackburn, and Jimmy Styks are no longer suspended.
Sincerely, Eric Prosnitz CEO, Sports Basement
Written March 14, 2018:
At Sports Basement, we do not sell firearms. We never have. We are not making a political statement in this choice. For us, sports are about play and competition, and health and wellness.
We have always strived to be an organization of high integrity -- to do the right thing even if no one is going to see it and even if it is hard. We also consider ourselves integral members of the communities we serve. We give back until it hurts. We also recognize that our community is a mix of voices, and that all those voices count. For this reason, we do not think we should have a company position on many issues that divide our country today.
Within that context, we have diligently considered our relationship with Vista Brands, owner of a significant firearms division as well as several popular brands we carry (Camelbak, Giro, Bell Sports). Over 30,000 people, 3000 of whom are children and teens, are killed by firearms each year. No other Western country is close in absolute number or mortality rate. Common sense says the abundance, accessibility, and lethality of weapons in America bears some responsibility for these deaths. And yet, we are unable to have more reasonable laws governing guns.
We reached out to Vista Brands and talked to two senior executives in their Outdoor Products group. We asked them what they had done since being acquired by Vista Brands and what they planned to do going forward. Their response was not encouraging. We believe Vista has acted with little resolve in solving gun violence in the past, and we received no indication that this was changing going forward. To date, our requests to discuss the issue with the CEO have been denied.
The Florida school shooting may be a catalyst for change. We don’t know. But given our support for schools, support for youth organizations, and support for health and wellness, we feel compelled to provide support to this burgeoning movement. We will be suspending purchases of product from Vista Brands. We will post this letter on the displays of the impacted brands. We will allow consumers to make their choice of whether to purchase the remaining product from these brands.
With our action, we are hoping to effect change at Vista Brands. We are hoping they can commit to supporting common-sense gun policies that save lives and have provided several concrete and significant suggestions in this area. The following Washington Post article describes these suggestions: Common Sense Gun Policies.
CEO, Sports Basement