Beats | March 6, 2018

Gun money roundup

The team at


(Editor’s note: Add all updates in comments or in a note to [email protected] and I’ll add them in — db)

Guns are the new carbon…or cigarettes…or South Africa.

The $70 billion State of Michigan Retirement System sold its holdings in Olin Corp., maker of Winchester ammunition. New Jersey legislators will vote on a bill to ban guns from the portfolios of state employee pension funds.

BlackRock, with $6 trillion under management, asked the three public US gun companies in their index funds — American Outdoor Brands, Vista Outdoor and Sturm, Ruger — to account for their risk exposure and mitigation plans.

Teachers are pressing the Florida State Board of Administration, and other teachers’ pension funds, to cut their ties to gunmakers. Retail investors are scrutinizing the gun holdings of mutual fundsin their retirement and other accounts.

Meanwhile, American Outdoor Brands, parent of Smith & Wesson, said quarterly sales fell 32% and profits 60% under a “continuation of challenging market conditions.” Remington Outdoor Co. is in bankruptcy after private-equity giant Cerberus handed the company to creditors.

Of course, some of the gun industry’s troubles come precisely from the expectation that President Trump and Republican lawmakers will not, in the end, do much on gun control in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Gun sales surged under President Obama in the brief moments, as after the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school slaughter, when strong action on guns actually seemed likely.

Do sinking firearms companies’ share prices (they ticked up Friday) reflect accelerating divestment activity — or falling prospects for meaningful gun control?

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High survivors have taken the lead in the “March for Our Lives” protests nationwide are set for March 24. Investors can lead with their portfolios and their proxies.

Let us know what investors are doing, and can do (in comments here or to [email protected]).

David Bank