The most significant threat to Second Amendment rights might come from Wall Street, not Washington DC. Investment industry giants might use their financial clout to force companies to stop selling guns to the public.
“We are working with clients who want to exclude from their portfolios weapons manufacturers or other companies that don’t align with their values,” an email from Ed Sweeney, a spokesman for BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager to CNBC states. BlackRock’s power is vast; it controls around $1.6 trillion in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
BlackRock will offer its clients funds that do not contain shares of America’s three publicly-traded firearms makers; American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ: AOBC), Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), and Storm, Ruger & Co Inc. (NYSE: RGR). BlackRock does not have those stocks in any of its actively-traded funds (portfolio managers select stocks) but holds small amounts of them in index funds (where a stock’s value chooses stocks).
Is Blackrock Trying To Decapitalize Gun Makers?
Some Second Amendment supporters might be worried by this statement at BlackRock’s website:
“For manufacturers and retailers of civilian firearms, we believe that responsible policies and practices are critical to their long-term prospects. Now more so than ever.”
The website does not define “responsible policies and practices.” Although it does plan to ask management these questions:
- “What steps do you take to support the safe and responsible use of your products?” Note: Safe and responsible use is not defined.
- “What strategies do you employ to monitor how your products are being sold?”
- “Do you require retailers to certify that they do background checks?”
- “Do you require training of retailer staffs?”
- “Do you have a process in place to flag orders of unusual size or identify patterns of disproportionate sales?”
- “What are your policies and practices for determining to whom you will sell firearms? “
Are BlackRock lobbyists forcing gun sellers to conduct background checks on gun buyers?
BlackRock also plans to ask these questions of retailers that sell guns:
- “What are your policies and practices for determining to whom you will sell firearms?”
- “Do you set age limits?”
- “Do you require background checks and what is the rigor of those background checks?”
- “What types of firearms do you currently sell? And what share of your revenue and profit do they represent?”
- “What other strategies do you employ to prevent the potential misuse of firearms you sell? (e.g., limits on bulk purchases, preventing straw purchases where one person uses another’s identity for a background check).”
BlackRock management plans to use its positon as a shareholder in publicly traded companies to vote against corporate directors that refuse to implement policies it wants, the company’s website states. That means it might be able to remove a company’s management if it refused to conduct background checks.
All second amendment advocates must start “voting with their money,” and change our investments to protect our rights as Americans. One way is to stop feeding the beast. We can begin by defunding companies like BlackRock.