Guns are icky. At least, that’s what numerous people in this country think.
However, they were more than willing to make a buck off of the gun manufacturers. Take the state of California (please?) and their teacher’s pension. While the state did everything it could to undermine the firearm industry, it used stocks from gun companies to help fund the retirement fund for its teachers.
More than a little hypocritical, if you ask me.
At least its considering becoming a little more ideologically consistent.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted unanimously last week to enact a plan of engagement with the outdoor retailers in its portfolio — including Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Academy Ltd., Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. and Kroger — on the heels of high-profile mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.
“As trusted fiduciaries for California’s … educators, the Teachers’ Retirement Board is dedicated to securing our members’ financial future during their retirement years,” said Harry Keiley, Chair of CalSTRS Investment Committee. “We’re taking steps to protect the CalSTRS portfolio, avoid reputational risk and increase the long-term value of the companies in which we invest, while also expressing sensitivity and empathy for the heinous gun-related tragedies that have impacted our country over the last several years.”
The pension fund manages over $225.5 billion and serves just under 1 million public school educators in California. It describes itself as one of the most vocal on issues of gun violence, voluntarily divesting from Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger and Co. in the months after the Sandy Hook massacre.
Now, the system will hire two new staff for a combined $280,000 annually to engage with companies selling guns and bump stocks deemed illegal in California. If the efforts fail — though the board’s plan doesn’t specify exactly how — the system will consider severing ties completely.
State Treasurer John Chiang urged the board to divest now — just as he did back in October, a week after the Vegas shooting left 58 people dead and some 850 others injured. “It would be recklessly inconsistent for anyone who supports California’s assault weapons ban to believe that investing in companies making or selling these weapons or ancillary devices ensures teachers’ retirement security,” he said.
Well, he’s half right.
It would be inconsistent to support an assault weapon ban while making money off of the companies that make them in the first place.
It’s not reckless, though. Not at all. After all, gun manufacturers make legal products to sell in compliance with state and federal laws throughout this entire country. Other stores sell lawful products people want to buy in accordance with those state and federal laws. Nothing is reckless about any of this.
In other words, it’s not reckless; it’s just hypocritical as hell.
However, the state of California isn’t interested in just divesting itself of stocks for companies that don’t share its anti-gun zealotry. It wants to try to blackmail companies into compliance with its dictates or risk large amounts of stocks being dumped, thus driving down stock prices. California’s following New York’s lead, though on a smaller scale.
California’s bound and determined to destroy everything we hold dear. If it can’t destroy the Second Amendment, it’ll just make it impossible for us to exercise it.