Making good on a campaign pledge involving guns.
State treasurer Shawn Wooden made a big statement, announcing a “responsible gun policy” for Connecticut’s pension investments and financial business, which includes selling off stocks of some gun manufacturers.
Wooden said despite Washington’s inability to provide comprehensive reforms in the wake of gun violence, his office will not stand by idly.
And, he said, he’s spurred to act in part because he lost a loved one in a shooting in Hartford in 2012.
Janet Rice, whose son was killed in gun violence that same year in Hartford, applauded Wooden’s efforts “I want to thank Shawn Wooden for standing up and doing something.”
Wooden oversees more than $36 billion in pension and trust assets for state employees and teachers.
He said his office will divest, or sell, $30 million in companies that own civilian gun manufacturing operations: Northrop Grumman, Olin Corporation, Clarus Corporation, Daicel Corporation, and Vista Outdoor.
“They’re not being punished. This is just a free marketplace at work. We have a concern with your product, it’s profitability, and as an investor, I choose to put the state’s money elsewhere, Wooden said.
Wooden explained investing in civilian gun makers has risk, including lawsuits by gun violence victims, for example.
Also going forward, when it comes to hiring financial institutions to issue bonds and conduct other business, he will factor in what kind of gun policy they have.
For example, the state just hired Citibank to conduct the state’s next bond offering.
Citibank has a new policy requiring weapon retailers that want to do business with the bank have universal background checks, an age requirement for gun purchases, and a ban on the sale of bump stocks and high capacity magazines.
We have asked for, but not received comment, from any of the companies that the state will divest.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an American trade association for the firearms industry, released a statement that said in part:
“Our industry leads on true gun safety…These divestment efforts and policies to restrict government business dealings to force gun control policies outside of the legislative process subverts democracy and strips Americans of their voice in public policy debates involving a fundamental Constitutional right. It is another example of government overreach to achieve through unaccountable bureaucratic officials what cannot survive legal analysis or voter review at the ballot box.”