ACTION ALERT: Tell Weapons Investors: “Stop Gun Violence”

April 8th, 2018 - by admin

Sen. Elizabeth Warren / CREDO Action & The Brady Campaign & The Nation – 2018-04-08 00:57:24

ACTION ALERT: Stand with Sen. Warren
Tell Investors in Gun Manufacturers to Demand Change

Sen. Elizabeth Warren / CREDO Action

Sign the petition: Stop the gun industry
Petition to the nine largest investors in the top three gun manufacturers:

“Stop profiting from the gun violence epidemic and instead use your power as major shareholders in Smith & Wesson; Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Vista Outdoors to pressure these companies to take concrete steps against gun violence.”

Big Wall Street investors in the major gun manufacturers have been profiting off of gun violence in America for far too long.

The gun industry is at the root of America’s obsession with guns. They boost their bottom lines by fostering a climate of fear and use the National Rifle Association as a radical front for lobbying against any common-sense gun regulation.

But they don’t do it alone. Nine major Wall Street institutions, including heavy hitters like the massive wealth management fund BlackRock, are massive shareholders in the most prominent weapons manufacturers. (1, 2) They empower and fund the gun industry’s dangerous agenda.

Now, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is demanding that these investors use their power to force gun manufacturers to make us safer, not more at risk. (3) She needs our help to increase the public pressure and spur real action to rein in gun violence.

Sen. Warren recently sent letters to nine major institutional investors who, together, make up the top five shareholders of the three biggest publicly traded gun makers: Smith & Wesson, a subsidiary of American Outdoor Brands Corporation (AOBC); Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Vista Outdoors. BlackRock is the largest shareholder in both AOBC and Sturm, Ruger & Company. (4)

These investors can use their financial power and their power as shareholders to force gun makers to make change. Gun makers can demand that retail sellers of their products enforce age limits or mandatory waiting periods. They can commit to developing and using technology like fingerprint ID that makes it harder for children to accidentally discharge weapons in their homes. They can cut ties with “bad apple” gun dealers: the 5 percent of licensed dealers who sell 90 percent of the guns used in crimes. (5)

They can fund research into gun violence prevention. And they can stop using millions of company dollars to fund the NRA’s extremism. But they won’t do any of that unless they are forced to do so.

BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity and the other major gun investors have the financial clout to demand change, but it will take sustained public pressure to make them act.

Pressuring investors and gun makers is no substitute for bold legislative action. But given Congress’ failures, we have to push anywhere and everywhere we can. And now is the time.

Since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, there has been massive pressure and organizing. Corporate partners have been abandoning the NRA in droves. P

eople all over the country have been publicizing and criticizing the amount of money their representatives have taken from the gun lobby. Even BlackRock announced it would “speak with weapons manufacturers and distributors ‘to understand their response'” to the Parkland shooting. (6)

Last month, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink told companies he invests in that they must contribute to the social good. Sen. Warren’s powerful letter to him notes that “having conversations is simply not enough” and now is the time to “put your money where your mouth is.” (7)

Sen. Warren is leading the charge to publicly shame Wall Street investors who make money off of gun sales without lifting a finger to stop the culture of death in America. But she needs our help to make it clear that furious Americans are paying attention.

Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell gun manufacturer investors to demand change.

Petition to the nine largest investors
in the top three gun manufacturers:

“Stop profiting from the gun violence epidemic and instead use your power as major shareholders in Smith & Wesson; Sturm, Ruger & Company; and Vista Outdoors to pressure these companies to take concrete steps against gun violence.”

ACTION: Sign Here.

Thank you for speaking out.

1. Lee Fang, “Does the NRA Represent Gun Manufacturers or Gun Owners?” The Nation, Dec. 15, 2012.

2. Tory Newmyer, “The Finance 202: Elizabeth Warren urges Wall Street to leverage relationship with gun industry,” The Washington Post, Feb. 27, 2018.

3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “Warren Calls on Institutional Investors to Encourage More Responsible Action by Gun Manufacturers,” Feb. 27, 2018.

4. Ibid.

5. The Brady Campaign, “The Truth About Gun Dealers in America,” accessed March 1, 2018.

6. Sen. Warren, “Warren Calls on Institutional Investors to Encourage More Responsible Action by Gun Manufacturers.”

7. Newmyer, “The Finance 202: Elizabeth Warren urges Wall Street to leverage relationship with gun industry.”

The Truth About Gun Dealers in America
The Brady Campaign

(March 1, 2018) — Every day in cities across America, lives are damaged and cut short by gun violence. Every evening, the local news reports how a young child, innocent bystander, or law enforcement officer was injured or killed due to gunfire.

Murders and other violent crimes take an immense toll on our communities as guns are used in hundreds of thousands of crimes each year, from incidences of domestic violence to armed robberies.

Often the crime is committed by a dangerous person who cannot legally purchase or possess a firearm. Only rarely does anyone ask how these dangerous people are able to get guns they cannot legally buy. The answer is strikingly simple: “bad apple” gun dealers.

“Bad apple” gun dealers 5% of federally licensed gun sellers that are the source of 90% of the guns used in crimes (“crime guns”). Gun crime in America is a problem caused almost entirely by a few “bad apple” gun dealers.

The goal of the Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers Campaign is to reform or shut down 50% of the few thousand “bad apple” gun dealers that supply virtually the entire criminal market, thereby having a major impact on the number of crime guns flowing into our communities and onto our streets.

Together, we can save countless lives by stopping “bad apple” gun dealers.

Read Our Report. Click Here.

Does the NRA Represent
Gun Manufacturers or Gun Owners?

The National Rifle Association has successfully stymied
any effort to regulate gun ownership,
but whom do they really represent?

Lee Fang / The Nation

(December 15, 2012) — Over the last four years, Congress and the Obama administration have only enacted laws that have deregulated gun use in America. It’s no secret why. As pundits love to note, the gun lobby is incredibly influential. But as we consider the potential for reform in the wake of the tragedy today, one of the first questions we should ask this time is: who does the gun lobby really represent?

The National Rifle Association portrays itself as an organization that represents “4 million members” who simply love the Second Amendment. The truth is much more murky.

In reality, the NRA is composed of half a dozen legal entities; some designed to run undisclosed attack ads in political campaigns, others to lobby and collect tens of millions in undisclosed, tax-deductible sums.

This power has only been enhanced in the era of Citizens United, with large GOP donors in the last election reportedly funneling money to the NRA simply to use the group as a brand to pummel Democrats with nasty ads. (As The Huffington Post’s Peter Stone reported, even the Koch network now provides an undisclosed amount to the NRA.)

Despite the grassroots façade, there is much evidence to suggest that corporations that profit from unregulated gun use are propping up the NRA’s activities, much like how the tobacco lobby secretly funded “Smokers Rights'” fronts and libertarian anti-tax groups, or how polluters currently finance much of the climate change skepticism movement.

In a “special thanks” to their donors, the National Rifle Association Foundation lists Bushmaster Firearms Inc., the company that makes the assault rifle reportedly found with the shooter responsible for the mass murder today in Newtown, Connecticut. How much Bushmaster Firearms Inc. (a firm now known as Windham) contributes is left unsaid.

The Violence Policy Center has estimated that since 2005, gun manufacturers have contributed up to $38.9 million to the NRA. Those numbers, however, are based on publicly listed “sponsorship” levels on NRA fundraising pamphlets.

The real figures could be much bigger. Like Crossroads GPS or Americans for Prosperity, or the Sierra Club for that matter, the NRA does not disclose any donor information even though it spends millions on federal elections.

And like other industry fronts, the NRA is quick to conceal its pro–gun industry policy positions as ideological commitments.

Take, for example, “The NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund.” It’s a pro–gun rights legal fund “involved in court cases establishing legal precedents in favor of gun owners.”

And who helps pick which impact-litigation cases the NRA will become involved with? Folks like James W. Porter II, a board member of the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund, who doubles as an attorney whose private firm specializes in “areas of products liability defense of firearms manufacturers.” His last client, according to a search of the federal court docket, was Smith & Wesson Corporation.

Is the NRA working for casual gun-owners, many of whom, according to polling, support tougher restrictions on gun ownership — or is the NRA serving the gunmaker lobby — which is purely interested in policies that will promote greater gun sales and more profits? Any gun control policy debate should begin with this question.

The NRA never walks alone. Read John Nichols on ALEC’s efforts to thwart honest gun policy debate.

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