January 24, 2019

By Raymond M. Sarola

Responding to continued mass shooting tragedies, some public pension funds that own stock in companies that manufacture, distribute, and sell firearms are promoting responsible gun industry practices as a way to protect the value of their shares and enhance public safety.

Public funds from California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland and Oregon teamed with private institutional investors to form a coalition representing over $4.8 trillion in assets to sign the Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry, five goals that companies in which they invest should pursue to reduce risks to the value of their businesses.

Representing current best practices in firearm manufacture and sales, the principles issued in November apply to investments in all public and private companies operating in the firearms industry. The principles direct manufacturers to support and utilize new technology to make their firearms safer and facilitate tracing by law enforcement agencies. But they do not end there. Distributors, dealers and retailers—a large set of companies that include consumer retailers like Wal-Mart—play a critical role in ensuring that safe firearms make it to the hands of safe owners. The principles direct these companies to adopt practices that ensure the completion of background checks on purchasers, to train their employees to identify suspicious transactions, and to work collaboratively with law enforcement to prevent and catch those who engage in gun violence.

The full article can be accessed here.