Big U.S. pension funds and private money managers are asking gun makers, dealers, retailers and others involved in the firearm industry to engage with them on a set of principles they have developed to promote gun safety.
The investors, from big public pensions like the California Public Employees Retirement System and the Florida State Board of Administration, to private firms like Nuveen, which manages assets for TIAA, and State Street Global Advisors, released their five principles on Wednesday.
They want gun makers to support the development of technology that would make guns safer, enforce responsible dealer standards and promote education and training in firearm safety. They also want gun dealers and retailers to follow best practices in background checks to prevent the sale of weapons to people who aren't supposed to have them and to train their employees to monitor irregularities at the point of sale.
The investors want people involved in the firearms industry to work with them on developing and promoting these principles.
The statement was signed by representatives of more than $4.8 trillion of investor assets.
It is the latest move by big investors to influence the debate on gun safety, making the argument that guns carry risks that are bad for shareholders of the companies involved in the firearm industry. "This is not political statement about constitutional rights, it is a joint assertion by all of the involved signatories that investors have a stake in advancing public safety," said Christopher Ailman, the chief investment officer of the California State Teachers Retirement System, which also signed the statement.
In May, CalSTRS said it would engage with gun makers and sellers and possibly divest of their stocks if those efforts failed.
That move came two months after 17 people were killed and 17 injured in a mass shooting at a Florida high school that, at the time, put the debate about gun safety back on the national agenda.
CalSTRS publicized it was going to engage with gun retailers "to leverage the public pressure that has been mounting in this country in response to recent tragic gun violence."