The New York City teachers’ pension fund sold its stake in companies manufacturing guns and ammunition amid the ongoing discussions in the Congress regarding the legislation of a tighter gun control. According to the report from Reuters, the pension fund made its decision in response to the shooting incident in Connecticut.
New York City Comptroller, John Liu said, "There is no need to support these companies, whose products can destroy lives and shatter communities in the blink of an eye. Our investment portfolio gains nothing by doing business with these firms."
The New York City teachers’ pension fund has $46.6 billion assets, out of which $13.5 million were invested in publicly traded gun companies. The pension fund sold all of its investments in Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC), Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR), Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:ATK), Olin Corporation (NYSE:OLN), and Forjas Taurus.
The NYC teachers pension fund also has investments in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), which sells guns and ammunitions. A spokesperson for Liu did not provide any comment on whether the pension fund is also reviewing its stake in companies that sell firearms including the retail giant.
Last month, the public pension fund of state of New York announced that it would stop investing in the stock of companies engaged in manufacturing firearms. The $150 billion pension fund has not made any decision yet whether it would sell its stake in gun makers.
In December, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), the second largest pension fund, announced the review of its investments in Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Freedom Group, the largest ammunition and guns manufacturer in the United States. CalSTRS was the first pension fund to make the decision to sell its stake in companies manufacturing guns and ammunition.
Cerberus Capital Management decided to sell Freedom Group after the shooting incident in Connecticut. The private equity firm investment bank, Lazard, was selected to auction the gun manufacturer. The sale of Freedom Group is not yet completed.
CalSTRS spokesperson, Ricardo Duran said, “We're confident that they'll be able to do this in a fairly timely manner,” commenting on Cerberus Capital’s sale of Freedom Group. “We don't want to push them. We don't want to be driving the sale of this," added Duran.
Furthermore, Duran said, CalSTRS understands that completing the sale of the gun manufacturer takes time, and the pension fund wants to get a fair market value.