Top finance officials in Nevada and Massachusetts are seeking policy changes that would allow them to cede millions of dollars to gun makers and related businesses.
The Democratic state treasurers of Nevada and Massachusetts on Thursday announced plans to offload taxpayer money invested in the gun industry, which will require approval from other government agencies in both states. With gun control proposals uncertain after last week’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 people dead, treasurers are using divestment as a strategy to tackle gun violence.
Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine explained in a video posted online his reason for cutting financial ties with companies that manufacture or profit from the sale of ‘assault-type weapons’ from the $47 billion public assets managed by his office.
“In my opinion, they expose the state to too much risk,” Conine said. “As Nevada’s Chief Investment Officer, managing risk to Nevada taxpayers is my responsibility. The moral hazard of investing in these companies is too high and beyond what we are willing to bear, and the investment is basically a blueprint for the future.”
Conine said his office has identified about $89 million that could be divested under its proposed policies, which must be adopted by the State Board of Finance as well as the board overseeing the program. savings from state colleges.
At this time, Conine said his office will not sell investments in targeted companies at a loss. Instead, he will hold the investment until maturity and never buy it again.
According to Conine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York City have already made similar divestments.
In Massachusetts, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is proposing that her state go further by demanding that the state’s $101.5 billion pension fund divest $2 million from “companies that make and distribute arms and ammunition for civilian use,” according to a statement from his office.
“It is unacceptable that we as a country continue to live in a seemingly endless cycle of gun violence,” Goldberg said in a statement. “Traditional approaches don’t work, and we need to do what we can to potentially save lives.”
Goldberg’s proposal would take the form of legislation that would direct the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board to withdraw its money from publicly traded companies that derive 15% or more of their revenue from the sale or manufacture of “ammunition, weapons firearms or firearm accessories for civilian purposes”. “
His office said it expects companies affected to include Ammo Inc.; Smith & Wesson; Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.; and Vista Outdoor.
Following the 2018 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, some companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association.
Goldberg said she made the same proposal to lawmakers after the 2018 shootings. However, the bill did not pass.
Previously, the Massachusetts State Board of Investment was tasked with funneling money from companies profiting from tobacco or doing business with Sudan, Northern Ireland and Iran.
Newsweek contacted the National Shooting Sports Foundation for comment.