After the mass shooting and killing of schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, in late 2012, activists made an appeal to Wall Street money managers: sell your stock holdings of gun makers and gun sellers.
It was a similar argument activists had made to exert pressure on tobacco and big oil companies. But while their message got a sympathetic ear from several high profile pensions and consumer advocacy groups, in practice it hasn't been so easy for the finance world to dump the gun industry.
Indeed, two of the world's biggest money managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, are among the top shareholders of three of the biggest publicly traded gun manufacturers as well as some of the biggest gun retailers.
BlackRock, with $6 trillion under management, is the top shareholder of American Outdoor Brands, the renamed Smith & Wesson, with 10.5 percent of shares. It holds 16 percent of Sturm Ruger & Co., 11.9 percent of Vista Outdoor and 9 percent of Orbital ATK.
BlackRock and Vanguard are also the top two holders of big gun sellers, including Dick's Sporting Goods, with about 7 percent each, and top three along with State Street Global Advisors among Walmart holders.
They have something else in common: BlackRock and Vanguard are among the biggest managers of exchange traded and index funds, which buy all the stocks in a given index in an effort to reproduce its performance. American Outdoor, Sturm Ruger and Vista are in the Russell 2000, while Walmart is on both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average.
Remington said Monday it would seek bankruptcy protection while it reorganizes debt.
In 2015, New York City's public advocate called on TD Bank to stop providing financing to Smith & Wesson, and she asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine the gun maker's public disclosures about its products. She also urged the city's largest pension to sell its holdings of Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods.
Another investor, Trinity Church of Wall Street, took Walmart to court to get it to stop selling high capacity weapons. And it has also used its position as a shareholder of Cabela's to get that retailer to stop selling certain weapons. Bass Pro recently bought Cabela's.
Investing in a way that meets social and/or environmental goals has become a big business, much of it driven by climate-impact investing that shuns the fossil fuel industry.
Last month, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink made a big splash in an open letter to chief executives of the world's largest companies, urging them to improve society.
"To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society," the letter said.