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Investing in Guns
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The gun control debate stirs some pretty strong opinions. Some might even claim, "I would NEVER own a gun." But, it turns out, they might actually be invested in gun companies without knowing it. Through their pension plans, their mutual funds, or other managed portfolios of investments, they might own a piece of a gun manufacturing company. Let's face it, gun manufacturing companies have performed extremely well over the last several years...and it is hard for a fund manager to resist a "sure thing" when it comes to an investment. As an educator, I have funds invested with TIAA...which is invested in American Outdoor Brands (formerly known as Smith & Wesson).  They manufacture rifles similar to the AR-15 assault rifles which have been used in more than one mass shooting. 

 

Sources: "You Might Be Giving Gun Companies Money, Even If You Don't Own a Gun," by Landon Thomas, Jr. and Stephen Grocer, New York Times, February 26, 2018. [Cover photo from repo.buzz] [Video from Money Talks News]

Follow up

  • Do you own a gun? What do you own and why? Did you make an opportunistic investment in any gun company after any of the mass shootings in the U.S.? How have those investments fared?
  • Are any IRAs, pensions or mutual funds that you own invested in gun manufacturers or distributors? Do you have ethical qualms about those investments? Discuss why you feel the way you do? Does the ubiquitousness of those investments influence your feelings about them and whether you will or will not take any action? 
  • Are there any other businesses in which you do not want to be invested for ethical reasons?  Describe and discuss.