REI Is Suspending A Huge Contract With A Popular Retailer Because They Sell Guns

(Photo by Suzi Pratt/Getty Images for REI)

Jena Greene Reporter
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Popular outdoor retailer REI has decided to suspend its contract with Vista Outdoor – the parent company of Savage Arms, a guns and ammo manufacturer.

Vista Outdoor doesn’t sell any of its weapons at REI however they do produce some of REI’s most popular products, including Camelbak and Bell.

REI released an official statement on the matter on Thursday. It reads:

REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we’ve seen such action from companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership.

This week, we have been in active discussions with Vista Outdoor, which has recently acquired several companies that are longtime partners of REI. These include Giro, Bell, Camelbak, Camp Chef and Blackburn. Vista also owns Savage Arms, which manufactures guns including “modern sporting rifles.”

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 through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.

Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that.

This is probably one of the worst reactions to a mass shooting in America I’ve ever encountered. We’ve already seen some companies cut their ties to the NRA. Which – although it’s futile and alienates a large portion of current and potential customers – makes sense if a company wildly anti-gun. But REI’s reaction to the Parkland shooting is just downright idiotic.

Both REI and Vista Outdoor are American based companies. US businesses should be doing everything they can to support the country right now. Not causing infighting and punishing a company for its ties with guns and ammo. And what did Camelbak ever do to hurt anyone? I feel like this punishment is very misplaced. Camelbaks support the brave men and women who pioneer through the wilderness and have no time for water breaks. They’re not shooting up schoolchildren.

This really just seems like an excuse for Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI to parade himself through the news circuit and get some screen time. You’ll recall the time he wrote a lengthy hit piece on President Trump after he cut down the size of two protected landmarks in Utah. The guy is really just gunning for Trump and Americans who want to maintain their Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately for him, a lot of those people also probably enjoy the outdoors and will probably reconsider patronizing his business after it took such a political tumble.

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