BlackRock has questions for gun companies after Florida massacre

BlackRock has some questions for gun companies about their response to the school shooting in Florida.The gian...

Posted: Feb. 23, 2018 9:12 AM
Updated: Feb. 23, 2018 9:12 AM

BlackRock has some questions for gun companies about their response to the school shooting in Florida.

The giant investment management company "will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to understand their response to recent events," spokesperson Ed Sweeney said in a statement.

BlackRock is the largest shareholder in gunmakers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands. It is the second-largest shareholder in Vista Outdoor.

Because BlackRock sells investments that replicate certain stock indexes, it can't just sell shares in a company. But its questions are certain to let the gun companies know they're paying attention.

"Even if we disagree with management, we focus on engaging with the company and understanding how they are responding to society's expectations of them," Sweeney said.

Related: Mass shootings don't boost gun sales anymore. Here's why

He said BlackRock is working with customers who want to keep gun companies and "other companies that don't align with their values" out of their portfolios.

Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands and Vista did not immediately answer requests for comment.

During Barack Obama's presidency, mass shootings often drove gun sales higher because of the prospect of tighter gun restrictions. But gun sales have fallen with President Trump in office and Republicans in control of Congress.

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