Gun Maker Shoots Down Activist Nuns

News: US News
by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  September 26, 2019   

Smith & Wesson shareholders vote down corporate gun control policy

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ( - Gun control activist nuns hit a roadblock in forcing gun manufacturers into political activism.

On Sept. 24, shareholders of American Outdoor Brands, the parent company of firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson, voted down a call for the company to fund and publish a report investigating violence committed by firearms it manufactured.

The effort was led by Sr. Judy Byron, a Dominican, and the Ontario Province of the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Byron is the director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment and the program director of the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center.

In February 2018, Byron and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) succeeded in getting the board to vote on and pass a shareholder proposal to issue a report outlining violence associated with the weapons it makes and details of any corporate efforts to research and produce safer guns.

In 2016, the SNJM purchased stock shares in American Outdoor Brands, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Dick's Sporting Goods in an attempt to bring gun control activism to the boardrooms of American firearm companies.

The same month the sisters made a similar proposition to Sturm, Ruger & Co., which passed overwhelmingly among its shareholders, CEO Christopher J. Killoy commented, "This proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report. That's it, a report."

He continued, "It cannot force us to change our business, which is lawful and constitutionally protected," adding that the company would not "adopt misguided principles by groups that do not own guns and do not understand guns."

At the same time, Dick's Sporting Goods stopped selling so-called assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and firearms to anybody younger than 21 years old.

Sr. Judy Byron, O.P.

In April, Dick's began destroying all unsold military-style weapons rather than return them to manufacturers, as well as all unsold high-capacity magazines.

By December, only nine months after making drastic changes to its firearms policy, the company announced it would be closing 35 stores in 18 states, with third-quarter financial losses at 3.9%. Even The Wall Street Journal noted the company's gun-control policies.

The sisters are members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a liberal activist organization using "shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues … [with] over 300 global institutional investors currently represents more than $400 billion in managed assets."

It's a continuing trend of liberals attempting to make firearm manufacturers responsible for mass shootings and further government regulation of the industry.

Congressional Democrats authored a bill in January 2016, called the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, attempting to make firearm manufacturers liable for crimes committed with their weapons.

It was an effort to rescind the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, passed in 2005, which grants some immunity to firearms manufacturers for crimes committed with their firearms.

California Democrat Adam Schiff said, "If you're a carmaker and your airbags kill someone, you're potentially liable. If you're a pharmaceutical company and sell faulty drugs, you can be held liable. If you're a liquor store and sell alcohol to minors, you can be held liable."

In a Town Hall op-ed column, Brett Linley counters, "If Toyota sells someone a Camry that is perfectly functional in every way, it is unreasonable to expect Toyota to pay damages if the person they sold it to gets drunk and collides with another driver," adding, "There is no realistic way that Toyota could have prevented such an accident."

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