American Federation of Teachers Calls Pension Fund Managers to Divest of ‘Assault Weapon’ Makers

Students take part in a national walkout to protest gun violence after 17 people were shot dead at a Florida high school -- killings that have led President Donald Trump and his education secretary to call for arming teachers as a solution
AFP NICHOLAS KAMM

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is calling on school pension fund managers to divest of companies that make “assault weapons.”

AFT president Randi Weingarten said:

We have a gun violence epidemic in our country, and our children and their teachers are caught in the crosshairs of this public health emergency. Educators, parents and students need safe and welcoming schools, and educators have a right to assume their deferred wages are not being invested in the companies that make the military-style assault weapons used to injure and kill them and their students in countless school shootings.

He added, “When companies produce a dangerous product that creates a national public health and safety crisis, that company becomes a high-risk investment and people have the right to know. This report is about exposing that risk and providing pension trustees and investment managers with the tools they need to demand meaningful action.”

AFT points to Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Board President Jay C. Rehak for an example of what they want done. Rehak said:

Teacher trustees face a painful dichotomy between the classroom and the boardroom. We’re on the front line in schools and face the daily reality that gun-related deaths are the third-leading cause of death for the kids in our classrooms. It would be tempting to base investment strategy on that emotional connection, but we don’t have that luxury. We’re fiduciaries, and we have to speak to our investment managers in language they understand. As cold or difficult as that sounds, that’s what we do. A pension fund weighs and balances investment risk, and the bottom line is that investing in weapons manufacturers involves intolerable reputational, regulatory and statutory risks. That’s why we divested from assault weapons manufacturers in 2013, and it’s why we continue to ask our managers tough questions and hold our fund managers accountable for following this policy.

AFT’s campaign to encourage school pension investment managers to divest from “assault weapon” manufacturers comes amid Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s (D) push to end the city’s relationship with banks that do business with gun sellers without requiring the businesses to first agree to adhere to certain gun controls.

The controls Emanuel wants placed upon gun sellers include agreements that “high capacity” magazines and bump stocks will not be sold, as well as an agreement that long guns will not be sold to anyone under the age of 21.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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