Billionaire money managers and pension funds are pressuring the firearms industry to adhere to new gun safety principles.
The investors (see complete list below) who collectively manage more than $4.8 trillion (that’s “T” as in Trillion) released the five “Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry Principles” on Wednesday, saying in a statement that they “are meant to be sensible and not intended to be prescriptive in nature.”
Sounds good until you get to the part of the letter which states that those gun companies who fail to “publicly demonstrate and publish their compliance with each of these principles” will face apparent consequences as the signatories will “consider using all tools available to us as investors to mitigate these risks.”
Meaning what exactly? Probably that if you don’t fall in line they’ll cut ties. We’ve seen similar tactics recently in the banking industry. Citigroup and Bank of America have adopted anti-gun policies designed to put the hurt on gun owners and gun companies.
BoA, for example, announced that it would stop lending money to AR manufacturers. Citigroup said it would no longer do business with companies that sell bump stocks and “high capacity” magazines while also prohibiting its clients from selling firearms to any adult under the age of 21.
We’ve seen faith-based investors pull similar stunts in 2018. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, in conjunction with investment firms like BlackRock and Vanguard, bullied Smith & Wesson and Ruger this year into putting together reports on the companies’ role in “gun violence” and what they’re doing to address the “risks” associated with their products.
Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry Principles
- Principle 1: Manufacturers should support, advance and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure, and easier to trace.
- Principle 2: Manufacturers should adopt and follow responsible business practices that establish and enforce responsible dealer standards and promote training and education programs for owners designed around firearms safety.
- Principle 3: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should establish, promote, and follow best practices to ensure that no firearm is sold without a completed background check in order to prevent sales to persons prohibited from buying firearms or those too dangerous to possess firearms.
- Principle 4: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should educate and train their employees to better recognize and effectively monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.
- Principle 5: Participants in the civilian firearms industry should work collaboratively, communicate, and engage with the signatories of these Principles to design, adopt, and disclose measures and metrics demonstrating both best practices and their commitment to promoting these Principles.
Gun-rights advocate Alan Gottlieb sees this latest effort as nothing more than a thinly-veiled attack on the 2A.
“American firearms manufacturers, distributors and dealers are already extremely responsible,” said Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation in an email to GunsAmerica.
“The groups and individuals behind this scheme are not friends of private gun ownership. They want to open a new front in the attack on Second Amendment rights,” he added.
Signatories include (as of November 14, 2018):
- California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)
- California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS)
- Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds
- Florida State Board of Administration
- Maine Public Employees Retirement System
- Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
- Nuveen, the asset manager of TIAA
- OIP Investment Trust
- Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund
- Rockefeller Asset Management
- San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System
- State Street Global Advisors
- Wespath Investment Management