A coalition of global institutional and private investors, including the $35 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds (CRPTF), has released a set of principles for a responsible civilian firearms industry as part of their fiduciary responsibility to encourage the firearms industry to address gun safety issues.
According to an announcement from Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, the five principles include:
- Principle 1: Manufacturers should support, advance and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure, and easier to trace.
- Principle 2: Manufacturers should adopt and follow responsible business practices that establish and enforce responsible dealer standards and promote training and education programs for owners designed around firearms safety.
- Principle 3: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should establish, promote and follow best practices to ensure that no firearm is sold without a completed background check in order to prevent sales to persons prohibited from buying firearms or those too dangerous to possess firearms.
- Principle 4: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should educate and train their employees to better recognize and effectively monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.
- Principle 5: Participants in the civilian firearms industry should work collaboratively, communicate, and engage with the signatories of these principles to design, adopt, and disclose measures and metrics demonstrating both best practices and their commitment to promoting these principles.
The principles would apply to public and private companies that are involved in the manufacture, sale and distribution of civilian firearms. They are focused on reducing risk, which Nappier says is a priority for institutional investors who have a fiduciary obligation to invest pension assets prudently and to monitor and manage risks.
The five principles serve as a conversation starter for investors to use when engaging companies to be active participants in protecting and enhancing long-term portfolio values by ensuring risks are being appropriately monitored and addressed.
The principles were conceived earlier this year when Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow Christianna Wood and Christopher J. Ailman, chief investment officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), convened a group of asset owners, asset managers, and financial institutions to design pragmatic principles for portfolio company engagement in the firearms industry that both gun manufacturers and retailers could embrace.Signatories, besides the CRPTF, include: the California Public Employees Retirement System; the California State Teachers’ Retirement System; the Florida State Board of Administration; the Maine Public Employees Retirement System; the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; Nuveen, the asset manager of TIAA; OIP Investment Trust; the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund; Rockefeller Asset Management; the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System; State Street Global Advisors; and Wespath Investment Management.