REI halts sales of Giro, Bell brands over gun link

REI, a nationwide outdoor retailer, says it will no longer sell the Bell bicycle helmets and Giro ski goggles made by Vista Outdoor (VSTO), becoming the second retailer to part ways with the maker of products that also includes guns and ammunition.

A growing number of companies are responding to consumer distress over the deaths of 17 teachers and students in a Florida high school just over two weeks ago, some by halting sales or cutting ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) by ending discount programs offered to NRA members.

REI's announcement came after thousands of its members signed an online petition calling on the retailer to quit its relationship with Vista Outdoor over its firearms-making business and its strong relationship with the NRA.

After active discussions this week with VIsta Outdoor, REI said in a Thursday statement that it made its decision after learning that Vista did not plan to make a public statement or outline a plan of action.

"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," REI said.

After also hearing from members, Mountain Equipment Co-op, a Canadian outdoors equipment retailer akin to REI, said it would also stop ordering products from Vista, which in addition to firearms makes a range of products among its roughly 50 brands.

In a related development, retailer L.L. Bean said it would no longer sell guns or ammo to anyone under the age of 21, a policy change also made this week by Kroger (KR) and Walmart (WMT). Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) stopped the sale of assault-style guns altogether, and banned the sale of high-capacity magazines along with the sale of weapons to those under 21.