By BETSY TAYLOR
A majority of shareholders invested in gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. voted to support an interfaith effort — spearheaded by Catholic health care systems and women religious — for the company to report on its efforts related to gun safety. The vote results were announced on May 9 at Sturm, Ruger's annual stockholder meeting in Prescott, Ariz.
"The shareholder investors advocating for this hope it will lead to less gun violence on the streets, in the schools, in the churches and make everywhere safer, particularly for our children," said Colleen Scanlon, Catholic Health Initiatives' senior vice president and chief advocacy officer. She was the lead filer on the resolution, which was co-filed by 10 other faith-based organizations who are members in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. The organization's members use their investments as a catalyst for social change. CHA is an affiliate member of the coalition.
The shareholder resolution called for a report by Feb. 8 to lay out Sturm, Ruger's efforts to monitor and mitigate the violence associated with its products. According to media accounts, Sturm, Ruger's President and Chief Executive Chris Killoy said at the meeting the company will issue the report.
The resolution asks the company to detail its efforts to produce safer guns, such as the potential to use smart technology, and to provide an assessment of the corporate reputational and financial risks related to gun violence.
"In some ways, it does feel like a new day," Scanlon said after the vote. Scanlon said the national call to action by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students following the Feb. 14 mass murder on their Parkland, Fla., campus has created momentum.
Scanlon said shareholders engaging in advocacy want to dialogue with gun manufacturers to encourage them to take a leadership role in improving gun safety and reducing gun violence.
Sr. Judy Byron, OP, directs a regional collaborative of faith-based institutions, the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment. She co-filed a resolution asking for the same reporting measures from American Outdoor Brands, the manufacturer of Smith & Wesson guns. That shareholder resolution will be taken up in September at American Outdoor Brands' annual meeting; the company has not yet issued a comment on the proposal. Sr. Byron filed the initiative as a representative of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association
of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.