Assault Rifles: Mass Shooting Needs Mass Divestment

I have removed gun manufacturers from my portfolio, have you?

As the death toll continues to rise from the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, we all should hold our children and loved ones that much closer.  It is clear that something needs to be done to create rules and regulations that outlaw any use of these mass killing machines.  The excuse that “the black market will just continue to produce them” is just not suffice.  I have been fortunate enough to visit the country of Iceland and upon hearing that even their police officers do not carry firearms, it has further solidified the fact that firearms only create more violence (Iceland historically has the lowest murder rate in the world).  I do hope that the lobbyists from the NRA will wake up, stare in the mirror and realize that their padding of crooked politicians’ pockets has led to the continued killings.

That being said, besides what our elected officials are doing, we as investors have a tool—divesting of companies involved in the business.  By selling stock of these companies, we can force down the price which in turn will force down the market capitalization of the companies to a point where they no longer have leverage to borrow or exist in the long term.  Ask the coal companies why they are going under and one of the reasons they point to is the mass divestment.

Here is a list of some US gun manufacturers who are contributing to such violence:

Largest US Based Gun Manufacturers    
Company Symbol Market Cap Notes
American Outdoor Brands Corp AOBC $850 Million owner of Smith and Wesson
Sturm Ruger & Company RGR $948 Million US largest manufacturer
Vista Outdoor Inc VSTO $1.34 Billion owns Bushnell products
Olin Corporation OLN $6.05 Billion Ammunition

The next step would be to look into the individual positions that are held within the funds that you own.  If you don’t know how to find out if your mutual fund or ETF holds these stocks, please contact us and we will help you.  Most sustainably screened mutual fund families such as Parnassus Funds already use the exclusionary screen of manufacturing of weapons.  On top of this, if you work with an investment advisor, you should call or email them to ask if they screen out all firearms from their stock and fund investing.

If you are an existing Sustainvest client, next time you sit down with a friend or colleague over coffee, ask the question, “I have removed gun manufacturers from my portfolio, have you?”

About Dale Wannen