Yale Blocks Future Gun Investments

Endowment confirms adoption of new firearm policy, introduced in the spring.

Yale University’s endowment has barred investments in retailers that sell firearms to the public.

The $27.2 billion endowment’s advisory committee on investor responsibility recommended the ban to a group of board trustees in the spring. The group had recently adopted the policy, with the Connecticut college acknowledging the change in an August 21 statement.

“The loss of life resulting from mass shootings in our country is deeply tragic,” the statement read. “The ACIR [Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility], which advises the Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR), determined that mass shootings cause incontrovertible societal harm and retailers supplying assault weapons to the general public cause grave social injury, a conclusion supported by the CCIR.”

The policy applies to public retail distributors, promoters, and dealers who organize and sell firearms at gun shows.

This comes at a time where institutional investors, such as the Connecticut Treasury ($42.3 billion), the New Jersey State Investment Council ($78.6 billion), and the California State Teachers Retirement System ($228 billion) are or are considering cutting gun and gun-related holdings from their portfolios amid a number of shootings that have occurred throughout the year, starting with the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February.

Such retailers the institutions have been boycotting include Kroger, Walmart, and Vista, who have since dropped guns from their inventory.

While creating the policy, the Yale Corporation Committee gave “special consideration” to several factors, including the differences in manufacturers and retail distributors, considering the military and law enforcement-only gunmakers and issuers; as well as the number of shootings that have occurred at educational facilities.

Jonathan Macey, the committee’s chairman and Yale law professor, told Bloomberg he doesn’t think the endowment has any holdings in retailers that sell assault-weapons.  

Yale was unable to provide comment by deadline.

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