Divest from Publicly Held Gun Manufacturers

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American Outdoor Brands' (AOBC - Parent company and manufacturer of Smith and Wesson weapons) stock gained 1.5% on 2/15/2018.  AOB's stock increased in value 5.6% higher on Wednesday. That's roughly a $36,000,000 gain in value. This investment harvest occurred on the same day that Nikolas Cruz assaulted, murdered, and wounded more than 30 persons.

Cruz used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle (a legally purchased and modified semi-automatic styled version of the M-16 and AR-15). He is not the first such assailant.  Attackers used the same or similar weapons to murder and maim hundreds of people, including teenagers and children in Las Vegas, NV. Aurora, CO, San Bernardino, CA. Users can adapt these weapons to hold high-capacity magazines and increase ammunition discharge rates.  In states such as Florida, purchasers don't wait to purchase such a weapon. There are no limits to increasing ammunition magazine capacity. (Stocks Rise for Maker of AR-15 Rifle used in the Florida School Shooting, Time Magazine, accessed Feb. 16, 2018)  

I have two questions for you. First, are you numbed, depressed, or appalled by these high profile gun-related attacks? I empathize with you. I invite you to share your story here if you are a victim and survivor of gun violence. 

My other question pertains to those of us who are fortunate enough to invest in stocks, mutual funds and/or participate in retirement pensions and annuities.  If you do, my second question is for you. Do you know whether or not you are profiting from these murders?  

Amanda Marcotte writes:

  • "There's an overarching truth that we must recognize. The gun industry and its lobbyists in the National Rifle Association are to blame. It isn't just the overly lax laws that they've gotten on the books, but the entire culture of gun-nuttery they've cultivated in order to sell more guns. While specific regulations need to be debated and passed, the big-picture problem here is an industry out of control." (Marcotte, 10/3/2017, para. 2, accessed Feb. 16, 2018)

Yesterday, I scanned my mutual funds holdings to determine whether or not the funds I was investing in held common or preferred stock in Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, or American Outdoors Brand companies. These are three of America's Biggest Gunmakers. Indeed, many of my Fidelity Mutual Funds do hold such stocks. I therefore elected to relocate my investments into other holdings.

I also contacted my employer's pension fund. The Church Pension Group's Investments are worth more than $12.0 Billion dollars at March, 2017.  The fund's assets have increased in value more than 2.0 Billion dollars in the past five years. (CPG 2017 Annual Report, Reflecting on the Past: Preparing for the Future, accessed Feb. 16, 2018).  I requested that the customer service representative inform me whether or not the Pension Fund's assets include holding stock in publicly traded gun manufacturing companies. I am awaiting a response. I am also speaking with my organization's treasurer and leadership to discuss what our investment managers pursue and whether or not these pursuits reflect our religious and spiritual values. I intend to limit the production of semi-automatic weapons that are the instruments of death that people are using to kill their fellow citizens, especially teenagers and children. 

Do you desire to assist gun manufacturers to continue profitably producing guns.  Do you (in)directly hold stock in these companies? If so, are you willing to reinvest your monies? Will you speak with your mutual fund managers, work with your employers to consider and adopt more socially conscious investment values and strategies.  Participating in the petition will not prevent you from contacting your local, state, and federal officials and representatives to adopt mindful and reasonable gun control legislation. Participating in this petition may result in these companies' bankruptcies.   

One means of ending violence while promoting justice is to boycott industries and entities profiting from promoting and continuing such violence. I invite you if you're a stakeholder in our capitalistic and democratic system to join me in handcuffing companies who make money because of the weapons they make. Your portfolio may suffer and you'll sleep better at night. Children in schools, movie and concert going neighbors, and depressed/fearful towns will be safer because of your sacrifice.



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