De Blasio Calls on NY Pension Funds to Divest Guns and Ammo Investments

Former NYC mayor cites gunmaker investments held by the state’s two largest pension funds.


Former New York City mayor and current congressional candidate Bill de Blasio is calling for the state’s two largest pension funds to divest from companies that manufacture firearms and ammunition.

In an op-ed in AM New York, De Blasio said the $279.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, which manages the pension for the state’s government employees, and the $148.1 billion New York State Teachers’ Retirement System are significant investors in Olin Corporation, which is one of the largest ammunition manufacturers in the U.S.

He also said the funds hold significant positions in other large gun manufacturers, including Storm Ruger and Co., Vista Outdoor, National Presto Industries and American Outdoor Brands. The funds should “hold the gun industry accountable,” he said, by removing the stocks from their portfolios.

“These are public companies that manufacture the deadly weapons and the ammunition used to kill our children,” de Blasio wrote. “While these investments may pass a fiduciary screen, they do not pass a moral one. This is unacceptable.”

Divestment of guns and ammunition by funds of their size “would send a clear and meaningful message,” he said, “and be the beginning of an effort to bring scrutiny to these companies,” similar to divestment campaigns targeting fossil fuel and tobacco companies.

“Right now, the NYSCRF and the NYSTRS have the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of those affected by gun violence,” de Blasio said. “Divestment sends a powerful message to gun manufacturers, and the pensioners, that these funds stand vehemently opposed to the companies directly benefiting from the flow of guns and bullets into our communities … these pension funds must adopt a strict new investment criterion to no longer hold gun and ammunition manufacturers in their funds.”

A spokesman for DiNapoli said the NYSCRF has been monitoring its investments in gun and ammunition makers, and that it has already divested some of its holdings.

“State Comptroller DiNapoli directed the state pension fund to divest from gun manufacturers nearly a decade ago,” a spokesperson for the New York state comptroller’s office said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “The impact of gun violence on our communities is heartbreaking, but also poses a substantial risk to investors, which is why we divested years ago following the tragedy at Sandy Hook.”

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