As happened with companies that invested in apartheid-era South Africa, gun manufacturers are being targeted by some investors who don’t want their money funding instruments of death.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know if investments include gun manufacturers. It’s easy enough to sell stock in Smith and Wesson; Sturm, Ruger & Co.; and ammunition maker Olin. But what shares are held in a mutual fund, the primary vehicle for most investors, is sometimes more difficult to determine.
The Campaign to Unload, a network of 50 organizations seeking divestment of gun-makers’ shares, has put together a list of funds that contain firearm and ammunition manufacturers. Their site, Unload Your 401(k), gives information on many popular mutual funds, which are the bulk of holdings in most retirement plans.
“You can make sure you’re not supporting these companies; it’s a step an individual can take,” Cathie Whittenburg, communications director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the partners behind the campaign, told The Guardian.
Investment in gun manufacturers has been on the rise for at least the past eight years. President Obama has called for more gun control laws on 16 occasions, according to Politico, which typically triggers an increase in gun sales and investments as people rush to buy guns in anticipation of new legal restrictions. Since 2010, shares of Smith and Wesson have risen by 400%, this month hitting their highest price since 2007, reported The New York Times.
At the same time,…