Leading U.S. pension funds and private financial managers are requesting gun makers, retailers, and other industry dealers to lay down a set of principles to promote gun safety.
The stockholders, from top public pensions such as the Florida State Board of Administration and the California Public Employees Retirement System among other private organizations like Nuveen, (asset manager for TIAA), and State Street Global Advisors laid out their five matters of concern a few weeks ago.
They would like gun makers to promote the advancement of tech that would boost up the safety levels of guns, encourage dealer accountability and inspire training and education in gun safety. Plus, the activists would appreciate if gun dealers and merchants follow best practices while conducting background checks to curb that sale of weapons to those who do not meet the requirements and to train their staff to have a keen eye on irregularities during sales.
The investors requested that industry players take part in the development and endorsement of these principles in a statement signed by firms that represent up to $4.8 trillion of investor assets.
It is so far the latest move by giant investors to drive changes related to gun safety raising concerns that guns pose risks for shareholders of the firms operating firearm space.
“The move is not a political statement on constitutional rights, rather, it is a shared declaration by all the signatories involved that investors have a role in promoting public safety,” said Christopher Ailman, the Chief Investment Officer for CalSTRS (California State Teachers Retirement System), one of the signatories.
In May 2018, CalSTRS announced it would involve gun makers and dealers in the same talks and possibly get rid of their stocks if those efforts failed.
The declaration came two months after the Florida mass shootings that injured up to 17 people which, at the time, placed the firearm safety debate back in the list of federal matters. CalSTRS said it would engage gun retailers to build up the public pressure that has been rising in the nation in reaction to the tragic firearm violence.
2018 has seen activists from all corners coerce gun makers, online firearm merchant account holders and retailers. Faith-based organizations won stockholder proposals at American Outdoor Brands and Sturn Ruger. The firms will now have to organize reports on whether the risks associated to their products (guns) are being adequately are linked to gun violence and demonstrate that they in constant search of ways boost gun safety.
Will investors manage to finally push gun makers and dealers to make gun safety one of their main agenda and come with policies to protect citizens? Well, they may make a mark because without them these gun-making companies may suffer.
Author Bio: Electronic payments expert Blair Thomas is the co-founder of high risk payment processing company eMerchantBroker. He’s just as passionate assisting online firearm merchant account owners as he is with traveling and spending time with his dog Cooper.