Nevada, Massachusetts State Treasurers want to dump Gun Company investments

Nevada and Massachusetts top treasury officials are seeking policy changes that would allow them to divest millions of gun manufacturers and related businesses.

The Treasurers of the Democratic States of Nevada and Massachusetts on Thursday announced plans to offload taxpayer money invested in the guns industry, which requires approval from other government agencies in both states. With gun control proposals uncertain following the Uvalde, Texas school shooting that left 21 dead last week, treasurers are using divestment as a strategy to tackle gun violence.

Nevada Treasurer Zach Conine explained his reasons for severing financial ties with companies that make “assault-style weapons” or profit from the sale of the $47 billion in state assets under his office’s management in a video posted online -Dollar.

“In my opinion, they put the state at too great a risk,” Conine said. “As Nevada’s chief investment officer, it is my responsibility to manage risk for Nevada taxpayers. The moral hazard of investing in these companies is too high and more than we are willing to take, and investments are basically plans for the future.”

Rifles on display at NRA
In a strategy to combat gun violence, the Democratic state treasurers for Nevada and Massachusetts announced a plan that would allow the states to siphon off millions of tax dollars invested in the gun industry. Above, military-style rifles are on display at the 2013 National Rifle Association Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Conine said his office has identified approximately $89 million that could be divested under its proposed policies, which must be approved by the state board of finance as well as the board overseeing the state college austerity program.

For now, Conine said his office will not sell investments in target companies at a loss. Instead, he holds the investment until maturity and then never buys it again.

According to Conine, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York City have already made similar divestitures.

In Massachusetts, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg is proposing her state to go further by asking the state’s $101.5 billion pension fund to divest $2 million of “companies that manufacture guns and ammunition for civilian use and evict,” a statement from her office said.

“It is unacceptable that as a country we continue to live in a seemingly endless cycle of gun violence,” Goldberg said in a statement. “Traditional approaches don’t work and we must do everything 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 public companies that derive 15 percent or more of their earnings from the sale or manufacture of “ammunition, firearms, or firearm accessories for civilian use achieve. “

Her office said it expects affected companies to include Ammo Inc.; Smith and Wesson; Storm, Ruger & Co., Inc.; and Vista Outdoor.

After the 2018 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, some companies severed ties with the National Rifle Association.

Goldberg said she made the same suggestion to lawmakers after the 2018 shooting. However, the bill didn’t add up.

Earlier, the Massachusetts State Investment Agency was ordered to divest funds from companies that profit from tobacco or do business with Sudan, Northern Ireland and Iran.

news week has reached out to the National Shooting Sports Foundation for comment. Nevada, Massachusetts State Treasurers want to dump Gun Company investments

Rick Schindler

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