Credo Action

Tell major fund managers: Side with shareholders, not the racist NRA

Sign the petition

Petition to Vanguard, BlackRock and other major fund managers:

"American Outdoor Brands Corporation (AOBC) is using shareholder money to fund the NRA's racist extremism while the company drags its feet on safety and hides the conflict of interest of one of its board members. Support the resolution brought by Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province and withhold support from director Mitchell Saltz’s re-election."






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    Tell major fund managers: Side with shareholders, not the racist NRA

    As if pushing a culture of death wasn't bad enough, the NRA regularly peddles racist propaganda. Its latest outrage was an NRA TV segment that portrayed children's show character Thomas the Tank Engine and friends in white hoods in order to decry the addition of an African character to the show.1

    The big retirement funds are heavily invested in major gun companies that in turn heavily invest in the NRA.2 They make massive amounts of money off of gun sales without lifting a finger to end the culture of death in America.

    Now, shareholders are fighting back, and we are standing with our allies at Majority Action to help.

    On Tuesday, Sept. 25, shareholders of American Outdoor Brands Corporation (AOBC), the owner of Smith & Wesson, will have a chance to vote on a resolution that would force the gun manufacturer to disclose what it is doing to stop gun violence and hold it accountable for secretly funding the NRA.3 We need to put pressure on major fund managers to use their influence to make America safer, and we're running out of time.

    Tell major fund managers: Side with shareholders, not the racist NRA.

    AOBC made a $1.5 million donation to the NRA in 2016 and was caught trying to hide it from shareholders despite the requirement that it disclose political spending. BlackRock, Vanguard and Invesco together own 27 percent of AOBC.4,5

    That means if you or someone you know has a retirement fund with these managers, your money might be supporting the NRA's racist and offensive propaganda.6

    Shareholders are now mobilizing to demand more transparency, accountability and action on gun safety, and to remove a member of the board of directors with severe conflicts of interest.7 Last spring, in the wake of the Parkland killings, almost 85,000 CREDO members joined Majority Action to demand that BlackRock and Vanguard use their power to get the NRA out of another gun manufacturer's board room.8 But fund managers were too cowardly to act. We need to turn up the heat to make sure they do the right thing next week and make it clear we will hold them accountable if they don't.

    Tell major fund managers: Side with shareholders, not the racist NRA.

    The pressure on gun companies to tow the NRA’s line is intense. In 1999, after the Columbine shooting, the Clinton administration sued manufacturers for the violence committed with their products. Smith & Wesson agreed to a settlement to develop child-safe triggers and safer “smart” guns and to block dealers from selling guns to criminals.9 The NRA went on the attack — trying to destroy Smith & Wesson and keep other gun makers from joining the settlement. After death threats, boycotts, lay-offs, near bankruptcy and the firing of Smith & Wesson's CEO, the changes agreed to in the settlement were never made. In 2013, Smith & Wesson’s now CEO James Debney was inducted into the NRA’s Golden Ring of Freedom for donating more than $1 million to the NRA.10 In February, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 was used to commit the Parkland massacre.

    We will never end our gun violence epidemic if we can’t break corporations' allegiance to the NRA. And neither side will let go without a fight. Right now, major shareholders in gun companies have to decide whether they are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Tuesday, they have a chance to show where they stand.

    Tell major fund managers: Side with shareholders, not the racist NRA.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Chloe Melas, "NRA TV depicts 'Thomas & Friends' characters in KKK hoods," CNN, Sept. 14, 2018.
    2. Nell Minow, "Can Shareholders Make Guns Safer?" Medium, Sept. 16, 2018.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Reshma Kapadia, "Big Investors in Gun Companies Weigh In on Violence," Barron's, Feb. 22, 2018.
    6. Minow, "Can Shareholders Make Guns Safer?"
    7. Ibid.
    8. CREDO Action, "Get the NRA off Sturm Ruger's board."
    9. Avi Selk, "A gunmaker once tried to reform itself. The NRA nearly destroyed it." The Washington Post, Feb. 27, 2018.
    10. Michael Daly, "He Made the Gun That Slaughtered Parkland’s Kids," The Daily Beast, Feb. 24, 2018.