Archive for January 20th, 2013

Blood, Guns or Money: Which Do Gun Companies Value? Pt 3

posted by Jael Ever @ 20:53 PM
January 20, 2013

       Thankfully, there is still more than one way to skin a cat––or in this case ‘skin’ gun manufacturers profits.  After the Sandy Hook massacre, across the country––States, cities, teachers unions, churches, universities, etc.––are divesting their retirement funds from gun manufacturing companies.

For instance, when the California State Teacher’s Retirement System pension fund (CalSTRS) announced it was reviewing its $ 750 million in Cerberus Capital Management, that fund told PR Newswire:  “we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group.”

Freedom Group describes itself as the largest firearms maker in the United States.  Its stock value, as well as that of other manufacturers dropped drastically in the last month.  The ‘Washington Post’ reports:

“Smith & Wesson dropped 5.2 percent to close Monday at $8.65, extending its slide to 9.3 percent over two days after Friday’s massacre. Sturm Ruger has fallen 7.8 percent during the period, while Cabela’s, an outdoor-gear retailer that sells guns and ammunition, slumped 7.3 percent.”

It turns out that in addition to votes for gun-control politicians and financial support for such national advocates, ordinary Americans have additional power.  Harry Keiley, a high school teacher with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and chairman of the board’s investment committee, told

“I sat there with all of my thoughts and feeling very powerless knowing that I don’t sit on the Supreme Court, I don’t cast a vote in the United States Congress, I don’t sit in the state Legislature. I’m a school teacher and dad. And then it dawned on me … that I and this board are not powerless.”

Advising divestment, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio told Associated Press (AP):  “It’s a bad investment to put money behind companies that put military-grade weapons on our streets and refuse to take responsibility for the outcome.  We should not be giving capital to an industry that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans each year . . . it’s our moral responsibility.”

While its teachers’ unions are already divesting, other N.Y. City employees––i.e. police, firefighters, clerks, etc.––spoke to AP about dropping foreign gun makers as well:

“The city’s pension funds, worth $127.8 billion, have nearly $18 million invested in Brazilian gun maker Forjas Taurus, which sells the Taurus line of firearms in the U.S.; nearly $14 million in Olin Corp; $2 million in Sturm Ruger; and $1.7 million in Smith & Wesson.”

One wonders if those who make, sell and buy guns truly understand the depth of anger Americans feel about their trade that ends in the deaths of thousands of our citizens each year.  As used Christian Bibles state:  “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course (Psalms 37: 9).”  Actions by these cities, unions, etc. may help to put those societal foundations back in place.

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