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Resolution

NAACP Supports Divestment of Public Pension Funds for Firearms and Ammunition, Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers

WHEREAS, investments in firearms and ammunition put public pension fund's portfolio at greater risk than comparable investments in companies whose products do not pose such a threat to public health and safety. The firms that make these firearms and ammunition are subject to considerable litigation and regulatory risk; and

WHEREAS firearms have the ability to cause significant social harm as evidenced by the prolific tragic incidents which have become almost routine; and

WHEREAS, the African American community is disproportionately impacted by gun violence; nearly half of the victims of deadly gun violence every day are African American men, despite their comprising just 6% of the U.S. population; and the African American community is disproportionately impacted by gun violence; nearly half of the victims of deadly gun violence every day are African American men, despite their comprising just 6% of the U.S. population; and

WHEREAS, the African American community is, on a daily basis much too often faced with excessive and a disparate amount of violence and / or hate crimes, including:

  • Violence in our neighborhoods perpetrated by overly aggressive/abusive law enforcement actions;
  • Violence perpetrated by neighbor against neighbor;
  • Violence based on sexual orientation, gender identification or transgender status;
  • Violence based on racial, ethnic, or point n national origin animus;
  • Violence based on religious animus;
  • Violence based on the immigration status of the victim;
  • Violence as a result of xenophobia,
  • Domestic violence; and
  • Violence based on gender; and

WHEREAS, from 2002 through 2014, gun-related deaths in the United States, including homicides, suicides and unintentional or undetermined cause deaths have averaged over 30,000 per year, with a total of 33,599 gun deaths reported in the United States in 2014; and

WHEREAS, federal law requires a license for firearms manufacturing and as of 2014 there were approximately 10,000 gun companies in the United States; this is nearly double the number of the 5,400 manufacturers reported in 2011. In 2014, domestic firms produced 9.1 million small arms - including handguns (4.4 million), rifles (3.4 million) and shotguns (0.9 million). An additional 3.6 million small arms were imported; and

WHEREAS, with much of the firearms industry in private ownership, revenue and profit statistics are limited. However, IBIS World estimates $13.5 billion in revenues and $1.5 billion in profits from the manufacturing of guns and ammunition; and

WHEREAS, certain companies have already engaged in divestment from firearm companies, including:

  • The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CaIPERS) - In January 2013, CaIPERS undertook an evaluation of their holdings of manufacturers of assault weapons and following the fund's divestment policies divested approximately $5 Million from Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger; and
  • The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CaISTRS) - In January 2013, following the fund's divestment policy divested approximately $5 million in Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger; and
  • NYC Teachers - On February 15, 2013, the NYC Teachers' Pension Fund Board of Trustees voted to divest from five firms. This action was taken after staff had determined that the action would be consistent with the fund's fiduciary standards and investment process.

WHEREAS, investments in firearms and ammunition puts pension funds at high risk.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP mount a public policy campaign to ensure public pension funds across the nation divest their investments in the firearms and ammunition manufacturing companies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls upon public pension funds to provide an implementation plan and timeline for divesting from their current public market holdings in these firearms and ammunition manufacturing, distribution and dealer companies and not investing in other firearms and ammunition manufacturing, distribution and dealer companies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages members, vendors, and all corporate partners to review their investments with a view to taking action to end the grip of the gun manufacturers, through actions such as public divestment of their holdings in said companies, supporting shareholder activism designed to promote common sense gun regulations including universal background checks and preventing individuals named to terrorist watch list from purchasing a weapon; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP encourages public pension funds to provide regular public reporting on said divestment.

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