Relatively minor investment change, with big symbolism, made at the behest of Treasurer Bill Lockyer
by Brian Leubitz
With Newtown still less than two months ago, and the state and federal government still working on how to reduce gun violence, Treasurer Bill Lockyer has a simple idea for CalPERS: Ditch the manufacturers. Back in December, he called on both CalPERS and CalSTRS to sell their investments in major manufacturers. And both had some in their portfolios.
First, CalSTRS decided to drop their $2.9mil in investments in Smith&Wesson and Sturm Ruger, made through index funds, last month. Now, CalPERS has joined them in the decision.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System's board voted to divest its $5 million in shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co. because the companies make weapons banned in the state.
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a member of the fund's board, proposed that the state's public pensions sell the shares after the Dec. 14 killings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The move has been mirrored by public funds across the U.S.(Bloomberg)
The sales won't do much to the stocks of either company, as fear continues to swell their sales figures. However, perhaps the statement the stock sales make will last longer than the upsurge in gun sales as we work towards a safer America.