NYC Teachers' Pension Fund Dumps Gun-Related Investments: Largest divestment since Sandy Hook shooting

New York City’s teachers’ pension fund dumped all their stock in gun and ammo manufacturers on Feb. 15.  The $46.6 billion fund is the nation’s largest pension fund to divest from the industry since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

The total divestment was recently valued around $13.5 million, according to Reuters, and was split among five companies that included Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK makes an assortment of goods, but is better known for ammo), Olin Corporation (OLN owns Winchester Ammo), Forjas Taurus SA (FJTA4 is Taurus), Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (SWHC), and Sturm, Ruger & Company (RGR).

The move comes after the NYC Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Trustees requested an evaluation of the system’s investments in the industry, and the evaluation concluded that the divestment would be consistent with the TRS’ fiduciary standards and investment process, according to the statement. In other words, they were not legally obligated to keep the funds invested in the companies.

NYC Comptroller John C. Liu, who might be running for NYC mayor later this year, shed light on the reasoning behind the decision to divest.

“There is no need to support these companies, whose products can destroy lives and shatter communities in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Our investment portfolio gains nothing by doing business with these firms, and this is a sound decision that sends an important message about our commitment to addressing the plague of gun violence in every possible way.”

As a result to current legislative actions, among other things, gun sales are soaring and ammo sells out almost immediately once it hits the shelves, but there’s no telling how long the boom will last, which may or may not give investors comfort.

As learned a few weeks ago (when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed for banks and investors to take action against gun companies), investors do take into account public opinion, their clients’ opinions and the current market, and try to find balance.

Days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the California teachers’ pension fund pulled its investments from gun companies, particularly from Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster, a rifle used by the gunman during the shooting. On top of that, Cerberus, the company that manages Freedom Group, announced that they’re selling Freedom Group.

Ironically the NYC teachers’ pension fund also invests in Walmart, the New York Times reports. And annually Walmart sells a shitload of guns and ammo.

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