Weekender Ride

Corporate ties to assault rifles and NRA spark boycotts of Giro, Bell, CamelBak and Blackburn

Posted by on February 21st, 2018 at 9:25 am

Last night Aaron Naparstek shared via a Twitter thread that Vista Outdoor — parent company of many well-known bicycle product brands like CamelBak, Giro, Bell, CoPilot, and Blackburn — also owns brands that sell assault weapons and ammunition. Moreover, the company is a proud supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Vista Outdoor and Action Sports Logos (PRNewsFoto/Vista Outdoor Inc.)

Given the current tenor and seriousness around the gun control issue, the news has spread quickly in cycling circles with some people calling for a boycott.

And the facts check out.

Vista Outdoor owns 50 different brands. Their core business is their “shooting sports” division. Rifles, rifle accessories, and ammunition make up over 75 percent of their revenue, which is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2018. One stock analyst said Vista is the largest seller of ammunition in America with 40 percent of the total market.

The company rode what Mother Jones referred to as “the Barack boom” in firearm sales, capitalizing on people who feared Obama and Democrats would severely restrict gun rights. And Vista’s sales soared after high-profile mass shootings with profits skyrocketing from $10 to $64 million the year after Sandy Hook.

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(Graphic via Seeking Alpha)

In early 2015 Vista was hailed as the, “biggest company in the outdoor recreation sector,” by the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine. But in the past few years they’ve purchased several non-gun-related brands in a bid to diversify their business.

In July 2015 they bought CamelBak for $412.5 million. Then in February 2016 they purchased Bell, Giro and Blackburn for $400 million. By early 2017 however, the company’s revenue began to decline. In the first quarter of that year overall sales went down 5 percent and their stock sank nearly 30 percent. Shooting division sales plunged nearly 20 percent and the company laid off 57 employees. Why? Their CEO blamed the election of Donald Trump and the lack of fear from Democratic rule.

By November of last year Vista saw a 13 percent decrease in revenue and announced plans to sell the Bollé brand, because their CEO said it was, “not core to our business.” Now Vista’s stock is in freefall with shares falling 62 percent in 2017.

With their shooting sports business hurting badly, Naparstek thinks boycotting their bike-related brands “could really hurt them.” Several of our friends on Twitter have said they will, reluctantly, stop buying Vista-owned brands completely.

“I own products from several of these brands and I’ll continue to use them,” said Portlander Andy Kutansky, “but I’ll take a hard look when it’s time to replace – and I urge everyone to do the same.”

UPDATE: Please see our follow-up post to this story where we asked local bike shops what they think about Vista Outdoor and calls for a boycott.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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139 Comments
  • dan February 21, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Money talks, I buy all my bike and snow helmets from Giro and will be happy to boycott them now that this has come to my attention.

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  • Merz February 21, 2018 at 9:48 am

    The only firearm manufacturer I recognized on their list is Savage, which makes mostly bolt action rifles.

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    • Buzz February 21, 2018 at 10:36 am

      These companies mostly manufacture and sell ammo and shooting accessories, not firearms themselves.

      But if you look at the list of Savage’s centerfire rifles, although they are mostly hunting and target guns, they also make sniper weapons and at least a half dozen or so AR-15 clones.

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    • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 10:55 am

      It’s not so much that Vistas companies are supplying the firearms or even the ammunition as Buzz points out, but that they are active supporters of the NRA and NSSF. Another tweet down the thread points out how tactical accessory company Millet markets its products towards aggressive combat situations, not just “outdoor firearm recreation”.

      With government contracts not what they used to be it is a common theme among weapons manufactures to rebrand combat oriented products towards “tactical enthusiast” civilians. This has led to the blurring of lines between “outdoor recreation” and wildly inappropriate products for civilian use. Vista’s brand portfolio reflects this, while most of their companies are sport related and practical for those applications, it is disingenuous to ignore the small percent that are more “sinister” so to speak.

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      • JeffS February 21, 2018 at 11:07 am

        Like using professional racers to sell product to old guys with money.
        It’s unclear to me whether the problem you have is with the product or with the marketing departments. As the basis for your personal boycott, it doesn’t matter I suppose. I’m more curious since you seem to be trying to sway the opinions of others.

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        • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

          Well ultimately it’s the products that are causing the physical harm BUT even if 99.9% of the “tactical enthusiast” folks out there never harm anyone with these products I still very much have a problem with the mentality existing in our culture and the marketing towards that. I think ultimately the militarization of civilian products and the “militia” lifestyle some adopt are larger threats to society long term, and aid in the promotion of often related anti-government, right-wing opinions that I don’t believe are productive to society.

          I suppose my goal is mostly to inform folks of this environment and maybe help folks see the connections that I believe will change opinions. Yes I am bias in that I don’t want this culture to exist and would hope others agree if they saw how it works.

          For some background if you’re interested:

          I used for work for a company that falls into this conversation, although not firearms, and the disconnect I saw between profit and ethics from a marketing standpoint was very disheartening. I personally helped ensure the successful manufacturing of products that were created for the sole purpose of efficiently harming a person, a thing I will forever regret, regardless if any actual violence occurs with that product. The craziest part was the efforts we took to make the product safe for a user (as they are far and way more likely to just hurt themselves by misusing the product) all while performing some insane mental gymnastics to ignore the fact that the product itself IS DESIGNED TO HURT PEOPLE.

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          • Michael Rioux February 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm

            Ultimately, it’s the advocacy that is causing the real harm because the NRA rhetoric is what keeps America from even having a civil conversation, much less a factual one.

            No company that supports the terrorist organization that is the NRA will get my money.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 9:37 pm

              I don’t think calling the NRA a terrorist organization is helpful, but a strategic boycott might be.

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              • Greg Smith February 23, 2018 at 9:44 am

                The shoe fits though. Whose activities are responsible for more Americans losing their lives, The NRA/gun industry or ISIS/Al Qaeda? The US government has a big disconnect in their priorities in this regard.

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  • Toadslick February 21, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for this info. Happy to join the boycott and spread the word.

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    • Sukho Goff February 21, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Yep. This is good enough for me; will also boycott those brands and spread the word. But dammit Bell helmets fit me the best (rounder noggin). For example Giro helmets run more oval and instantly press against my temples when I put one on. Anyone also have rounder heads and can recommend another helmet brand besides Bell?

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      • Sarah February 21, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        Kali and Kask work for rounder heads.

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      • Bill February 22, 2018 at 7:50 pm

        Try Leatt. I had the same problem as you and Leatt fits me better than Bell

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      • Greg Smith February 23, 2018 at 9:45 am

        Bern. A bit pricey but nice helmets.

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  • Steve February 21, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I wonder if anybody promoting this boycott visits any of the fine farm-to-table establishments that serve game shot with Federal ammo from behind a Primos duck blind, or that use Outers or Gunslick cleaning supplies for their firearms. I make a pretty damn good Pheasant pot pie every year using some Vista brands to get it to the table. Wanna try it? Oops, sorry, the boycott. Pffft! Portion of this comment deleted because it was mean and insulting to others. — Jonathan

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    • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Seems strange to ridicule consumer voting, one of the most powerful tools we have to make a difference.

      https://www.fastcompany.com/40402079/every-purchase-you-make-is-a-chance-to-vote-with-your-wallet

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      • Al Dimond February 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

        I think I’d characterize successful boycotts as the exceptions that prove the rule. The conditions of their success and the limits of their success may be worth thinking about.

        The most famous boycotts I can think of are the Montgomery bus boycott over segregation and the grape boycott over labor conditions. In these cases there was real, on-the-ground organization with social support, and there was a clear connection between the cause and the product. People had to change their habits to participate, and supported eachother in doing so, because the cause was important to them. This… probably ain’t that.

        The more recent cases, mentioned in the article, around Trump-branded fashion and Uber, seem more like flips in brand perception than socially-supported boycotts. People disillusioned with Trump and Uber switched to other fashion labels and ride-sharing services. I don’t know anyone that dresses that nicely (I also don’t trust anyone over 35, which is gonna get awkward in another year or so), but I know people that have gone anti-Uber… and mostly they just switched to Lyft. OK, well, that doesn’t really address the core concerns with the contemporary gig economy (consolidation of profits and control, fracturing of labor power and benefits) and the companies’ shared approach to civic participation (ask for forgiveness, not permission). And a lot of ’em look to Lyft first and use Uber as a backup; and a lot of ’em can barely even enumerate their particular problems with Uber, they just have a vague negative feeling against the brand (people often assume I, as a non-Uber user, am a Lyft user, and when they find I’m also not a Lyft user, are almost always surprised that I actually care about the effect of the app-taxi sector as a whole on cities, markets, and people’s lives). That’s a pretty limited form of success, even if it succeeds in killing a single brand.

        These recent quasi-boycotts involved souring of public opinion on particular brands in fields where brand perception and loyalty is very important. I’m not really sure this situation is like that, either. You have a little company marketing to “tactical enthusiasts” that only needs niche support; it’s owned by a big holding company with little brand identity of its own; and that company also owns a bunch of fitness equipment companies with a bunch of distinct but not particularly powerful brands. Even if some particular brand gets tarnished they could wait for some of the fervor to die down, re-brand, and most of the people that were angry at that brand initially wouldn’t even notice. I don’t know, maybe we’ll sustain mass anger at the many companies that associate with gunmakers or the lobbying arm of the NRA, and maybe that sustained anger will shame them all into isolating the NRA? I doubt the social support will be there to sustain that kind of a movement for very long. It would be cool to be wrong.

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        • Al Dimond February 21, 2018 at 12:38 pm

          An example of a well-known, sustained, and unsuccessful boycott is mainstream vegetarianism. I’ve read articles calling vegetarianism successful due to the ubiquity of vegetarian options, but of course the point of a boycott is not to make the boycott itself easier, but to change or end the objectionable practice, which has evidently not occurred!

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 1:50 pm

            I would disagree. Many vegetarians don’t consider themselves to be boycotting anything.

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            • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

              Besides meat?

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            • John Lascurettes February 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm

              Agreed, speaking as an omnivore. I can see that. I commute by bike because I can and it seems the proper thing to do. My preferred modes of transportation to work in order are, biking, bus, getting a ride, driving. If I were better at running, I would put running right after bus. I’m doing it as a boycott to the combustion engine, but just because it’s the proper, healthy for me and everyone else, thing to do.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm

                Wouldn’t it also be logical to avoid buying any product that was transported using a combustion engine?

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              • John Lascurettes February 21, 2018 at 5:31 pm

                To minimize that effect, yes. That’s what buying local is about along with supporting local economy.

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            • JP February 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

              This vegan has been actively boycotting animal products for 15 years. Most veg*ns I know feel the same.

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          • q February 22, 2018 at 10:21 am

            Look at this:
            https://www.choosemyplate.gov/brief-history-usda-food-guides

            The USDA Food Guidelines (the “Food Pyramid”) used to show a “meat” category in the 70s. Then that changed to “meat and beans”. Now it’s called “protein”. And the idea that you can get your protein from non-meat sources has also become mainstream.

            People can debate about WHY it’s happening (influence of vegetarians or otherwise) but it’s hard to argue that there’s been a significant movement AWAY from eating meat in the U.S. over the years.

            And you’re right, offering vegetarian options itself isn’t any proof that vegetarianism is taking hold. But the fact that people are choosing the vegetarian option (which I’d guess is why more vegetarian options are being offered) is.

            You can also argue whether vegetarianism is really a “meat boycott”. But if it isn’t, it’s had the effect on general views of meat (and actual consumption for at least many people) of a successful boycott.

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            • BIKELEPTIC February 23, 2018 at 11:26 am

              Let me add just one more log to this dumpster fire….

              Here’s a recent article from January of this year, though an easy google search with “surplus milk farmer” will find you articles going back to mid-2016. While this has kind of gone on a bird walk off topic re: veganism & plant-based, let’s focus on the ethical choices that people are making; choosing not to use their money on one product because it supports torture/death. (Domestic cows can live until apprx 20 yrs though in the dairy industry generally around age 4 they’re taken off the milking like & then marketed for beef.)

              “Dairy Farmers Experiencing A Milk Surplus As Sales of Almond, Soy Milk Rise”
              http://fortune.com/2018/01/02/dairy-farmers-experiencing-an-organic-milk-surplus-as-sales-of-almond-soy-milk-rise/

              Then there’s the ethics of the production line from which the food and/or products came. A lot of people will use that justification in not purchasing products from China due to the well-photo-documented conditions of Chinese labor factories. They, then don’t bat an eye over their Amazon Prime account – where the conditions are so bad that here in the US, two workers (at least) have died from exhaustion, people fall asleep standing during their 50+ hr shifts, they have timed bathroom breaks and work for so little, most qualify for subsidies. But it’s convenient and they have everything from organic baby food to uranium ore and wolf urine, right? Right!?

              “Top 10 Worst Countries for Workers’ Rights: The Ranking No Country Should Want”
              https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharan-burrow/top-ten-worst-countries-f_b_7553364.html

              “I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave”
              https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/mac-mcclelland-free-online-shipping-warehouses-labor/4/

              My point? It’s not JUST the holding companies; you have to take it to the source. The holding companies work with the distribution companies who make the products available to the vendors and businesses who make it available to the consumers.

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        • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm

          I couldn’t tell you how effective boycotts are, but I do know that even poor people, re-districted minorities, unregistered voters, and voters who live too far away from a voting booth to be able to express their opinion with a regular vote can at least have some sway in the world by choosing where to spend their money. I personally choose to stay away from AB-InBev products as best I can. I’m sure AB-InBev doesn’t notice my missing dollars, but if enough people think the same way we might be able to keep our locally-owned breweries in business, instead of funding a global corporation intent on owning every inch of store space at the grocery store.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 1:52 pm

            If a company doesn’t know why you’re not buying from them, they have no way of knowing how they could change to get your business.

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            • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm

              AB-Inbev could cease to exist. That’s what they would need to change.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 2:36 pm

                I’ll bet even that wouldn’t satisfy you… would you buy their constituent brands if not for InBev ownership? I’m going to guess not, as they would still be competing with the local brands you want to support.

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              • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm

                Like Elysian and 10 Barrel? Sure. I specifically stopped buying their beer when they were bought up by AB-InBev.

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            • Greg Smith February 23, 2018 at 9:48 am

              Which is why it’s a good idea to send them an email or letter explaining why you’re not going to buy their products. Lots of letters + sudden unexplained downturn in sales = sudden social clarity.

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    • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

      I would guess very few people promoting this boycott from a cycling perspective fall into the category of ‘regularly benefiting from firearm use’ or are avid firearm users themselves, they likely wouldn’t have a problem with this company if so.

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    • Chris I February 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

      I guess you think the 2nd amendment is more important than the 1st.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 1:53 pm

        Why should they be ranked?

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        • CaptainKarma February 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm

          I believe the first amendment was first for a reason.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

            Are you saying the 2nd Amendment is therefore more important than the 4th or the 5th?

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            • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 3:13 pm

              Shows you how important they felt the 19th Amendment was 🙂

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    • Chris February 21, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Hi Chris. I deleted your comment because it was mean. Please don’t insult or mock other commenters. It’s very important to us that these comment threads are productive. Thank you. – Jonathan

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    • jonno February 21, 2018 at 11:52 am

      I’m a lifelong shooting enthusiast, and I got no problem with hunting, skeet or target shooting. That’s not the issue here and I expect you know that already.

      **A portion of this comment has been deleted. Jonno, please don’t label other commenters. People are allowed to share opposing views if they do it respectfully. Thanks. — Jonathan

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  • JeffS February 21, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I wonder what happens if any of these people ever look into what their taxes pay for.

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    • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 10:41 am

      We can’t fix everything so might as well not fix anything! Yes! Good Plan!

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      • JeffS February 21, 2018 at 11:16 am

        You’re free to do whatever you want. Except, apparently, make a well reasoned argument that doesn’t resort to strawman attacks at the first opportunity.

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        • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 11:48 am

          Apologies if the sarcasm was a bit much but it seemed that pulling some totally unrelated topic into it as a way to defend inaction seemed a bit defeatist.

          And if I am understanding a “strawman argument” correctly I believe that turning the conversation towards taxes as a way to try and infer hypocrisy instead of engaging with the real topic would fall into that…?

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      • Andy K February 21, 2018 at 12:28 pm

        Comment of the week

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    • Chris I February 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

      That’s why I don’t pay taxes.

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  • Bella Bici February 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I’m a proud supporter of BikePortland and the NRA. 😉

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    • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 11:09 am

      So support the NRA in it’s view that a “Deep State” was created by the Obama administration that has politically corrupted the FBI and it’s investigation into Russian political influence in part stopped the Florida shooting from being prevented?

      The NRAs culture and agenda is so different from the views and goals of a community like Bike Portland I am unable to understand how one would draw a strong enough value connection to actively support both. May I ask you’re level of support for the NRA or how closely you follow it’s PR statements/political support/lobby efforts? In my experience many people who say they support the NRA really just enjoy firearm use and by default think they need to also support the NRA without realizing just how radical of an organization it is.

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      • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 11:09 am

        *So you support…

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      • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        Probably time for the NRA to split into two separate organizations.

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  • bikeninja February 21, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Attention CEO of Vista! you can have your cake and eat it too. Keep all your brands but use your outsize industry influence to push for a massive change in the NRA’s opposition to sensible gun control. You are in the best position in the world to do it, and the time is now. That or kiss the future of your investments in the cycling world goodbye.

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    • Jason H February 21, 2018 at 11:09 am

      They do offer up a full page on what they consider “Social Responsibility” https://vistaoutdoor.com/social-responsibility/ Whether it’s just a corporate whitewash or legitimate, now is the time for them to double-down and only offer products that fit common sense gun ownership for hunting and low capacity personal protection not the dangerous fringe “tactical enthusiast” even if it means less money there. And also support legislation that re-restricts weapons of the type banned under the former assault weapon ban that expired. I will give them a chance to do the right thing, but am making a calendar note to check in 6 months. If their corporate line is the same then I will never buy one of their bike brand products again.

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  • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I routinely ride my bike to the range with my handgun. The notion that some kind of bullets are specially made for “assault weapons” (please attempt to define that buzzword) doesn’t wash with me. The vast majority of gun crimes are commited with handguns, and of those, many are committed by people who are already blocked from purchasing legal weapons who have no qualms breaking the law to aquire them. Are we saying that white teenagers shot with a scary looking legally purchased gun, are more valuable than black teenagers in Chicago shot with illegally aquired handguns?

    What is the logic in banning a type of rifle, largely for aesthetic reasons, that doesn’t even account for the most deaths?

    Why do our kids feel alienated to the extent that they would do this? What about our society is degrading that produces young people who feel this way? Is it the same dark force that has people living in echo chambers online, only looking at facts that support their narrative, and labeling everything else as fake news? Is it to do with the errosion of confidence we have in authority in general, that allowed President Trump to happen? That allowed yet another lesser of two evils presidential campaign, because it refused to listen to its people?

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    • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

      “What is the logic in banning a type of rifle, largely for aesthetic reasons, that doesn’t even account for the most deaths?”

      To make mass murderers less effective.

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      • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 11:44 am

        Virgina Tech shooter had handguns, limited to 10 rounds by law. He simply brought more magazines.

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        • dwk February 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

          Well that does it, you win, why try to stop anyone from doing anything.

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        • q February 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

          You can take that argument the other direction, and it doesn’t stand up well. Yes, mass shooters can use handguns as well as AR-15s. Is that a reason not to restrict the AR-15s? If you think it is, what about bombs? There are limitations on civilian bomb ownership and use. By your logic, you could say we might as well make all bombs legal, because if they stay banned, people will just kill with AR-15s.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 1:59 pm

            They can have my bomb when they pry it from my cold, dead hands?

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            • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 3:21 pm

              Jaegerbomb?

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        • Brian February 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

          How much worse might that day have been had he chosen alternatives to handguns? “Four out of the five deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history have taken place since 2012 and all four of those shooters used AR-15 model rifles in their attacks, including Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas and Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.”

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    • ricochet February 21, 2018 at 11:16 am
    • dan February 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Personally, I’m less concerned about bullets and more concerned about support for the NRA which frankly, to me, looks like an extremist group now.

      It makes sense to me to question — as you have — the specific approaches taken. Sure, the best policy is never obvious. But there’s no room to question the objective fact that the US has more handgun deaths per capita than Mexico and South Africa: , and 10 times the per capita deaths of New Zealand, a country which does allow private firearm ownership, including so-called “assault rifles”.

      So, because it’s hard to know the best approach, do we continue to do nothing? Or do we follow the lead of every other developed country, have an honest debate about how to proceed, and _try_ to change the current mass shooting culture? Given results we have seen in other nations, I do not accept that protecting firearm ownership rights means resigning ourselves to the steady drumbeat of mass shootings, and I find that line of thought to be frankly lazy and willfully ignorant of objective facts.

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      • Ernie February 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm

        In my view, today’s NRA is a terrorist organization and should be labeled and treated as such.

        It opposes any attempt at any regulation of manufacture, possession, ownership, modification, or sale. It spreads fear and lies, promoting violent slogans of retribution for any opposition, and actively and effectively recruits and funds challengers for anyone who supports even any dialog.

        The first step in stopping it is cutting into its funding at an individual level (I used to be a member but they lost me over trigger locks a long time ago) and most importantly now at a corporate level. Boycott any company that gives them any funding whatsoever.

        It has to be OK to be a gun or outdoor company and NOT support the NRA today. Today’s NRA has nothing to do with sportsmanship and everything to do with fearmongering, apocalyptic, anarchism.

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        • Martin Vandepas February 22, 2018 at 6:48 am

          I don’t support the NRA, but the things you are describing are not what makes a group a terrorist organization. The NRA doesn’t commit violence to get it’s way which is the definition of a terrorist organization. Just because you really don’t like something doesn’t mean they are terrorists.

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          • Dan A February 22, 2018 at 7:24 am

            This is an interesting read, questioning whether the NRA is a greater threat to America than ISIS:

            https://www.columbiamissourian.com/opinion/local_columnists/george-kennedy-the-nra-s-influence-is-a-danger-to/article_f4c9ec02-252b-11e7-95d9-d73112895e9c.html

            It’s strange that people in the US are afraid of Muslims and immigrants, but really what we should be afraid of is old white guys with political power and the wrong kinds of friends, bankers thriving on junk bonds, car makers who sell reckless driving or willfully subvert our clean air laws (pretty much all of them), big pharma killing hundreds of thousands of people with opiods, etc.

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          • Ernie February 23, 2018 at 10:50 am

            The NRA *does* exploit to it’s own advantage gun attacks, using the violence for political gain. Likewise, the intimidation tactics they use are explicitly condoning gun violence, again for political gain.

            Seize their funds and shut them down. They can fight it in court.

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    • Chris I February 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

      So you believe that Americans are 10 to 40 times more sick and demented when compared to their European counterparts? After all, if it can’t be the readily available weapons that are at fault, it must be the people themselves, right? Why are we so depraved when compared to other countries? Rugged individualism? American Exceptionalism? I guess we have to lead the world in something…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 2:02 pm

        I try to make sure I’m at least 10 to 40 times more sick and demented than my prissy, goody-goody French counterpart, Bonjour, Chaton!

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        More to your point… it’s not just the guns. There’s plenty of guns elsewhere, but with much less carnage. There is definitely a cultural/sociological element to the problem.

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        • Buzz February 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm

          Actually, with the exception of war zones most countries that allow their private citizens to own guns severely restrict the type, caliber and magazine capacity of allowable weapons and typically also have much higher barriers to gun ownership in the form of registration and licensing.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm

            Are you saying there is no cultural element, that the differing levels of gun violence is purely an issue of regulation and licensing?

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            • Cyclekrieg February 22, 2018 at 11:17 am

              Its more complicated that licensing and culture as single items. Its both and how both interact. Germany, which has some of the most strict gun laws in Europe and a very low rate of gun deaths (including suicides) is actually per a capita the 4th largest gun owning country in the world. And you can totally own an AR-15 style rifle in Germany.

              Without getting to into specifics here, part of the reason the gun debate in the USA is a mess is that a lot people in the “guns = bad” column seem not to understand how firearms physically operate (the AR-15, while scary looking, mechanically operates the same as a lot of other non-scary looking firearms). A lot of the people in the “guns = good” column also don’t seem to understand how guns laws work in other countries and fall back “they are going to take our guns” rhetoric, which isn’t how gun laws work.

              As someone who a) owns firearms and b) hunts with those firearms, often from a bicycle (small game) and c) thinks the NRA is nuts, I can see how the arguments devolve into very passionate people that, frankly, don’t know what they are talking about.

              Its tough, I know. Its not just one conversation, its like five we have to have at the same time. Its about gun licensing and purchasing, its about mental health, its about the cultural of fear of the “other”, the cultural of glorifying violence as the solution and its about that firearms are a tool, a dangerous one that requires training and skill to use, but a tool that the vast majority use responsibly. If you choose to focus on just one part of the conversation, you won’t see or solve the problem at hand.

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    • BradWagon February 21, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Unfortunately the way violence is covered and consumed there is a bias towards the outlier incidents like you suggest. However I believe if pressed individually many people who oppose these rifles would also agree that hand guns are a problem as well and would feel the same sadness for life lost regardless of demographics.

      Personally I believe hand guns fall into a similar category as these high capacity magazines in that most civilians that own them (and don’t commit crimes) use them purely for target shooting (or conceal carry which is a whole other conversation and mentality that I can’t understand). Not doing that myself I can’t speak for you all but from the outside looking in the focus on higher power weapons seems a little vein, like riding an E-bike or even a bike with Di2. Sure its maybe more fun or easier but ultimately is the base enjoyment of riding a bike thaaaat different than if they didn’t exist… anyway, that mass shootings regularly happen with these style of weapons instead of hand guns I think does speak volumes towards one area, not the only though, that deserves attention.

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    • JenT February 23, 2018 at 7:02 am

      The information provided by one ER radiologist, who was part of the team treating Parkland high school victims, provides insight otherwise unavailable comparing bullet damage done by AR-15 vs. others: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-i-saw-treating-the-victims-from-parkland-should-change-the-debate-on-guns/553937/

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      • Cyclekrieg February 23, 2018 at 9:36 am

        Not wanting to get too far negative on this person’s viewpoint, but it does provide a window into a very real issue: that many people that mention banning weapons actually don’t know that much about weapons. This doesn’t mean they are dumb, it just means their “fixes” won’t work in the real world. Yeah, Marco Rubio is as slimy and spineless as they come, but he wasn’t wrong in the factual problems with a blanket ban based on how a firearm looks versus how it operates.

        The caliber of bullet referenced here is the 0.223 Remington (5.56mm NATO is the same, though chambered differently). It was developed from the 0.222 Remington varmint round to meet a US Army specification in 1957. Its used in an innumerable number of non-AR-15 rifles, like the Ruger Mini-14 to various bolt action rifles. How would you ban the AR-15 when the Mini-14 fires the same ammo and mechanically functions the same? What about bolt action rifles that can fire only as fast as the user can run the bolt but use the same ammunition?

        I’m going to reference my previous comment about German gun laws. To own a high powered cartridge rifle in Germany, one would have to pass two tests, the primary firearm purchase test (Waffenbesitzkarte) and the test to earn a “yellow” license if the firearm is modern bolt/lever action, “red” if its historic/semi-automatic action (firearms licenses in Germany are color coded). The German gun laws are logical, based on how a firearm functions, not on how it looks.

        My point is simple: if you are arguing that weapons should be banned, please do research into how firearms function, what calibers are and their relative lethality and what firearms use what cartridges. You might find its harder than “just ban this”. If you are arguing that changes in gun licensing are impossible due to the 2nd Amendment or some other reasoning, please do research into different countries’ laws, how they function in practice and how a similar system could/would work in the United States. You might find you can have your firearms and still have a gatekeeper to prevent the wrong people getting firearms.

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        • Dan A February 23, 2018 at 9:54 am

          “How would you ban the AR-15 when the Mini-14 fires the same ammo and mechanically functions the same?”

          Maybe you could explain why it wouldn’t make sense to ban both.

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  • David Raboin February 21, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Just removed a Bell product from my Amazon shopping cart. Thanks for the information.

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  • GlowBoy February 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever bought a helmet that wasn’t either a Bell or a Giro. Didn’t know about this connection, let alone that they were under the same ownership. I’ll buy my future helmets from other brands, as much because I hate oligopolies as because they’re profiting from gun hysteria.

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  • q February 21, 2018 at 11:22 am

    A clothing manufacturer did some marketing I didn’t like (pitting their target customers against other surf users). I contacted REI because they sold the clothing, and also sold gear to the other users the clothing company was aiming its hate at. REI responded right away, and I never saw that clothing sold at REI again. Not sure if it was my email, but a good reminder–you can kill one sale by not buying a helmet yourself, but you can kill 1,000 sales by contacting retailers.

    Retailers don’t want to antagonize their own customers, and most (not all) retailers who sell bike helmets and Camelbaks have a lot more anti- than pro-NRA customers.

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  • X February 21, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Huh. (People you’ve never heard of) are cyclists too. Wonder how they feel about bike lanes?

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  • IanC February 21, 2018 at 11:40 am

    In a Capitalist, consumerist system, we vote MUCH more often with our purchases than we do with our ballot. Not buying these products is a legitimate way to “vote” against the NRA.

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  • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 11:49 am

    On the subjecy of voting with your dollars. The article goes on to correctly suggest that each one of these public cries for gun control lead to an influx of purchases. Like with white supremacists, it seems the most effective way to get rid of guns is not to whip people up into a frenzy.

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    • q February 21, 2018 at 11:57 am

      But much of the frenzy-whipping comes from the pro-gun side.

      Same with white supremacists. The frenzy against minorities wasn’t whipped up by minorities. White supremacists were around long before Black Lives Matter or even the Civil Rights movement.

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      • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        Yet now they are emboldened and embattled, given ample tools for recruitment. Gone off to the store to buy more before its too late. Google: The Streisand Effecy.

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        • Brian February 21, 2018 at 12:15 pm

          Then one of the ideas that needs to be on the table is a mandatory sell-back of whatever guns/magazines/etc are made illegal. Perhaps this could be funded by a public/private partnership.

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        • q February 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm

          So what are you saying? Nobody who wants gun controls strengthened should mention gun control? And if they don’t mention it, the problem will go away?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 2:13 pm

          I heard Trump is going to confiscate all our bikes. That’s why I just bought two more.

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          • q February 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

            Wow, I hadn’t heard that. I DO know he wants to crack down on Toyota SUVs. In fact, I heard him say that the reason he wants to build the wall is to “keep the 4Runners out”.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 9:38 pm

              I tried not mentioning bad puns in this forum, but that didn’t help.

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    • GlowBoy February 21, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      So we shouldn’t advocate for better bike facilities because “whipping people up into a frenzy” promotes the backlack against cyclists?

      In politics, every action does not lead to an equal and opposite reaction. The existence of opposite reactions should not keep us from taking action.

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  • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    **Comment deleted for an offensive reference. Keep it clean if you want to keep it seen. Thanks. — Jonathan

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    • TwoHobbies February 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      It’s not offensive to note that gun control is generally a non starter issue for those who have survived the Holocaust.

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      • Brian February 21, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        Gun control isn’t gun elimination. I don’t understand your change of direction here. Is there something I should read on this idea?

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        • q February 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm

          I hope you get an answer to that.

          I do see a lot of people assuming gun control does mean elimination. One comment I remember seeing somewhere–“We don’t need gun control! What we need are some sensible rules so crazy people can’t buy guns!”

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          • GlowBoy February 21, 2018 at 1:39 pm

            The NRA’s stance is always the slippery-slope argument that any control is tantamount to elimination, or will inevitably “lead to” it. Hence the recurring references to historic totalitarian states.

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            • q February 21, 2018 at 2:09 pm

              Yes, it’s tiresome.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 2:53 pm

            The same thing happens with the topic of abortion. Any step to limit is seen as a step to abolish.

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            • JRB February 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm

              Analogizing efforts to reduce gun violence with efforts to restrict abortion rights is a false equivalency. Determining under what circumstances a private individual may own a lethal instrument that can be used to harm others is entirely different than interfering in a medical decisions to be made by an individual with the advice of medical professionals.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 3:36 pm

                The issues are different, but the battle is similar: Both have advocates under siege from opponents whom they see as working to take away what they feel are important rights, and fear that any concession would be the start of an endless erosion.

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              • Middle of the Road Guy February 22, 2018 at 10:52 am

                You completely missed the point. It’s about people’s reactions, not the examples.

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            • JRB February 21, 2018 at 3:56 pm

              KItty, I vehemently disagree. Most abortion rights advocates do not oppose all restrictions. The majority agree with gestational limits except in the case of severe and often life threatening abnormalities or risk to the pregnant woman’s health. The vast majority of proposed or enacted restrictions are not opposed on a slippery slope basis, but because they offer no medical benefit and are intended solely to make obtaining an abortion more difficult or even practically impossible.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 4:11 pm

                Most gun advocates do not oppose all restrictions, either. The vast majority agree on some limits, such as the ban on fully automatic weapons. Many proposed restrictions on guns offer little public safety benefits (e.g. banning guns that look a certain way while allowing different models with identical capabilities).

                I should clarify that I am not a gun advocate and am strongly pro-choice. Nonetheless, I can see the nuance and complexity of both issues, and acknowledge the validity of arguments for policies I disagree with.

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              • JRB February 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm

                I could spend more time pointing out what I see as the problems with your arguments, but we are wandering seriously off topic so the last word is yours.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 9:32 pm

                Yes!!

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          • Buzz February 21, 2018 at 4:09 pm

            or so ‘normal’ people can’t buy crazy guns…

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      • dan February 21, 2018 at 4:12 pm

        Actually, I would say it is in fact offensive. You don’t have to take my word for it, the ADL says so: https://www.adl.org/blog/why-the-holocaust-has-no-place-in-the-gun-debate

        And, I want to be respectful here, but I can’t say that I recall ever seeing you post here before, and the tone of your posts is starting to tend a little bit trollish. Merely an observation.

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    • Brian February 21, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Yes, I am. If they choose not to there will be thoughtful consequences if detected at some point and the effects of those consequences will be made very clear at the onset of the policy (ie. what happens if someone becomes a “felon”). The cold, dead hands “threat” by some gun owners shouldn’t be the deciding factor. The consequences will force many (most?), but not all, to sell back their arms. Some who choose not to do so will keep their guns in hidden view and will never be detected, and no harm will ever come about as a result. That is a logical expectation. 100% compliance isn’t reasonable, and it shouldn’t dictate our course of action. Others will have crimes committed using the weapons they chose not to sell back, and those consequences will be even more severe for them.

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  • joan February 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    So the thing to do is not just to boycott these brands but also to say you are doing so on Twitter and other social media. And the thing to do is to contact your local bike shop (or wherever you buy bike stuff locally) and let them know you are boycotting these brands and encourage them not to stock these brands. I’m not saying boycott your local bike shop! Not at all. But, rather, nudge them not to carry these brands any longer.

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    • Jon February 21, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      Of course your local bike shop has probably already made their stocking order for the summer season so I guess they are going to be stuck with a whole bunch of tough to sell helmets and accessories. Vista most likely already has been paid. This boycott might have an impact on Vista next year when shops make their orders but this year it will mainly be a boycott of local retailers.

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      • joan February 21, 2018 at 1:35 pm

        Right, so they’ll know better for next time and will order accordingly. Also, many folks order this stuff off of Amazon or other online retailers.

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  • catherine feta cheese February 21, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Interestingly, similar situation with Black Diamond (makes mainly ski/climb/hike gear but some items like jackets, gloves, headlamps may be used by bike riders) is now owned by Clarus corp. which also owns Sierra Bullets (who offer mil. grade full metal jacket rounds as well as regular hunting/target ammo.) NRA political support (in 2013) from Sierra Bullets company: https://sierrabulletsblog.com/2013/05/14/greetings/

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    • Christy C February 21, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      “Clarus Corporation is a holding company which seeks opportunities to acquire and grow businesses that can generate attractive shareholder returns.” Everything that’s wrong with everything. They don’t give a rat’s a** about what they are selling, and maybe they don’t even know half the time. What would be interesting if to delve throughone’s 401K to find hidden investments in these companies. Boooo.

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  • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Osprey makes some awesome hydration packs and bladders. I’ve got 3 Osprey packs and 2 bladders, and they are some of the best things I own.

    You know, if someone’s looking for an alternative to CamelBak.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 21, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Don’t buy Bell, Giro, Camelback, or Blackburn. Done! Thanks for posting this.

    (I own guns and was an NRA member once upon a time.)

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  • Justin February 21, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Cordura, a fabric used on many bike bags, is owned by the Koch brothers. So be sure to add that to the list. Also, let’s take a moment to be grateful that they no longer own Lycra. There’s no other material in the world that shows off my cycling thighs quite so well. I’d never be able to make the switch to another fabric.

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    • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      There’s probably not much out there that isn’t partially owned by the Koch brothers…

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      • CaptainKarma February 21, 2018 at 2:57 pm

        True. Including the GOP and half the Dems.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      But that is not environmentally friendly 🙂

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    • Buzz February 21, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Lycra for sure and probably Cordura as well, could just a well not exist and no one would miss them…

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  • David Hampsten February 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Our community group finds and fixes up bicycles for immigrants and refugees and poorer local residents. We were recently given several boxes of new Giro and Bell helmets. Now I know why.

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  • Ernie February 21, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    ter·ror·ism
    [ˈterəˌrizəm]
    NOUN
    the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

    I think this applies to today’s NRA. I think it’s supporters should be treated as supporters of terrorism. Boycotting them is hardly worth much of a conversation, and should more be assumed.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Perhaps all of the aggrieved here can donate their Giro products to the Community Cycling Center.

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    • GlowBoy February 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      Except for the fact that helmets have a limited lifespan. To be honest, most of the Giro and Bell helmets in my family are probably close to or beyond their retirement date.

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    • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      It’s pretty easy to avoid Bell products. They make decent helmets but there are lots of alternatives, and everything else they make is department store junk. Giro is harder to get around, as they generally make some pretty nice gloves, shoes, & helmets.

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      • axoplasm February 21, 2018 at 3:32 pm

        I have a lot of Giro gear. Probably several thousand bucks worth over the decades. I am (was) a big fan, and I have habitual buying habits (been wearing Giro helmets since the EIGHTIES). But this is an easy decision.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm

        I have a fair bit of it – couple of gloves, shoes, helmet, etc. Good products and a US company.

        Anyway, I would encourage anyone taking part in the “boycott” to also consider that the groups Giro also supports might be impacted.

        http://www.giro.com/us_en/category/partnerships/

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  • Brian Boucher February 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    You can have my Giro helmet when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

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  • pdx2wheeler February 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Sorry to see Blackburn caught up in this. They provide a lifetime warranty on their bike lights. I once had a rear light stop working after 2 years of regular use. They immediately sent me an upgraded replacement, no questions asked, free of charge. Their parent company may suck and support the NRA, but Blackburn supports cyclists very much.

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    • bendite February 21, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      There’s always Light & Motion.

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    • Dan A February 21, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      Portland Design Works recently replaced my Radbot after a failure two years in, shipped it free, etc.

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    • pdx2wheeler February 22, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for suggesting some alternatives.

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  • turnips February 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I think this is about the most civil interaction between folks who disagree about guns that I’ve ever witnessed. don’t know whether that’s because of Mr. Maus’s effective moderation or because Portland bicyclists are just so darn reasonable (at least relative to the shrillest voices on both sides of this issue) or because the disagreements here are relatively minor. regardless, I’m impressed.

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    • Dan A February 22, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      I think most folks here have already accepted that a bit of regulation can be a worthwhile tool in the fight to save lives.

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      • q February 22, 2018 at 11:37 pm

        Yes, and being able to travel on public streets seems like a pretty basic right. Did anyone try the “slippery slope” argument with rules for driving or biking or walking on them— “First they’ll require brakes (or headlights, or licenses, or seatbelts, or vehicle registration, or stopping at signs, or staying in lanes…) then they’ll take away our cars (or bikes, or right to walk…)”? If so, we’re better off that they didn’t argue successfully.

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  • Beth H February 23, 2018 at 10:13 am

    This is a start. BUT — specific boycotts don’t work as effectively as a large number of consumers choosing to shop less everywhere.
    Capitalism in general is part of the problem here.
    We’re talking about going after a few offenders without looking at the bigger picture.
    Wanna make real change?
    Change when, why and the way we shop in general.
    If I have a choice between scavenging or buying, scavenging — or repairing, or even doing without — wins every single time.

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  • Matt Ritzow February 23, 2018 at 10:22 am

    A boycott of Bell and Giro products will have a many layered level of collateral damage. The most affected with be small independent bicycle retailers who will sit on large inventories of product, their local employees, and many others, all of whom directly contribute to bicycle advocacy in our community.

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  • Dan A February 23, 2018 at 11:29 am

    It’s starting to have an effect. https://thinkprogress.org/corporations-nra-f0d8074f2ca7/

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 23, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I’m closing this discussion down as it seems to have run its course at the moment. Stay tuned for more coverage.

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