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Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 11/16/2018 in Firearm News

Activist Investors Putting Pressure on Gun Companies



Activist Investors Putting Pressure on Gun Companies

A group of activist investors representing more than $4.8 trillion dollars is now putting pressure on the firearms industry to make reforms. 

Some of the investing agencies operate pensions with taxpayer dollars for government employees. The biggest investor in the coalition so far is the California State Teachers' Retirement System with $229.2 billion in assists. California is a national leader in gun control, so it is logical to wonder if the teacher retirement fund invests in gun companies. 

It does. The chief investing officer for the California State Teachers' Retirement System fund even admits to being "thrilled" that funds like the one he runs are trying to force changes in the gun industry. For a full list of companies the California State Teachers' Retirement System fund invests in, click here

WHO IS DOING THIS 

The activist investor group has created a website Firearms Princples to explain their position, what they want to be done and who has signed on to the program. 



1) Manufacturers should support, advance and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure and easier to trace. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

WHAT THEY WANT 

The coalition says the objective here is "not intended to be prescriptive in nature." In other words, they say this effort is not meant to shut down the industry, make gun manufacturing unprofitable or otherwise put heavy restrictions on guns and the sale of guns. 



Keep reading the statement and it becomes more ominous. The gun control agenda becomes evident. "We call on companies within the civilian firearms industry to publicly demonstrate and publish their compliance with each of these principles, failing which, we will consider using all tools available to us as investors to mitigate these risks." 

MAKING THE CHANGE 

Activist investors have, can and will force companies to change. How? Vinay Shandal explains some of the ways investors can force companies to change in his TED talk

What "tools" are available? 

• Lawsuits. Investors sue companies regularly in the United States for all kinds of reasons. Gun makers do have some protection from lawsuits under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but not complete immunity. 

• Legislation. California is a national leader in gun control efforts. A few other states have followed this lead. Washington State is the most recent with a voter-passed law regarding gun purchases. 

• Economic pressure. This coalition is threatening to bring economic pressure on gun makers, at least right now. In the US economy, $4.8 trillion is a quiet voice from a corner. In this case, that quiet voice is attracting more speakers to amp the volume. If enough investment funds sign on to this, they can wield enough votes at stockholder meetings to force changes.



 

• Social pressure. In this case, social pressure combines economics and legislative matters. People who receive pensions and who are investors in these groups will put pressure on their legislators from the local to the national to do something.

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