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Is Big Money Holding Gun Industry Hostage For Smart Guns?

November 15, 2018
By Jeff Fletcher

In a tacit challenge to force gun makers to develop safer guns, major money managers are pressuring the firearms industry to be more aggressive in promoting safety measures via their distribution and retailer network to keep their products from being purchased by people who shouldn’t have them.

While not threatening manufacturers with withdrawal of financial backing from big pension funds and other investors, influential financing managers with nearly $5 trillion in assets see a future marked by cooperation between shareholders and manufacturers in the promotion of gun safety that involves influencing their distribution network. Part of the effort is the acceptance of such controlling measures as enhanced background checks for gun buyers and other measures that do not infringe on constitutional gun rights.

The suggestion amounts to a cooperative effort to develop a statement between partners, according to the chief investment officer of the California State Teachers Retirement System, and should not be about Second Amendment infringement but “a joint assertion by all of the involved signatories that investors have a stake in advancing public safety.”

Earlier this year, and on the heels of the gun control campaign following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the California Teachers investment group might possibly divest gun maker stocks if efforts to commit to more gun safety failed.

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association’s lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo claimed a partial victory in a judge’s decision to allow the NRA’s claims of impediment of its First Amendment free speech rights to go forward. The gun group, according to a Wall Street Journal report, said that Cuomo used New York state’s financial regulatory agency to intimidate insurance companies, banks, and other firms into turning down business with the NRA.

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