Smith & Wesson Loses Proxy Vote to Anti-Gun Nuns
For the second time, a group of anti-gun nuns, along with some help, has forced a firearms company to take a look at its affect on gun violence. The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, along with the Catholic Health Initiatives, presented an anti-gun resolution during the annual meetings of Smith & Wesson. The nuns won the shareholder vote, according to preliminary numbers.
The proposal requires Smith & Wesson to report on how the company’s products affect gun violence, and what the company is doing to combat these affects.
According to CNBC, Sister Judy Byron claimed the move should actually help the company survive. She also claimed that recent shootings using the company’s products opens them to boycotts and protests.
“Not only can these solutions help save many lives, they may help AOBC’s long-term business prospects in the process and we are gratified that so many of our fellow shareholders supported our resolution today,” said Byron.
However, American Outdoor Brands CEO James Debney said the move was all about politics. Also, he was “disappointed” that this fight didn’t happen at the legislative level.
The anti-gun nuns received assistance from a variety of shareholder groups, including two large financial groups. BlackRock Inc and Vanguard Group are large shareholders, and both voted for the proposal. However, it appears as if most shareholders did not vote, with only 28 percent of shares being voted; BlackRock and Vanguard control 20 percent of the shares in the company.
Back in May, the same groups pushed through the same proposal at the Ruger annual shareholder meeting. As such, gun owners should take notice of the current anti-gun path.
What the Anti-Gun Nuns Won
Both Ruger and Smith & Wesson have until February to present findings on gun violence and research on producing safer guns. They also have to provide an assessment of financial risks to shareholders.
However, that is all the companies have to do. This will not stop either company from producing firearms, or even certain types of firearms. In fact, after the vote in May, Ruger put out a statement on what the company is required to do because of the proposal. The statement reads in part:
Please understand that Ruger was obligated by applicable law to include a shareholder’s activist resolution with its proxy materials for a shareholder vote. With its passage, the proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report. That’s it. A report. What the proposal does not do … and cannot do … is force us to change our business, which is lawful and constitutionally protected. What it does not do … and cannot do … is force us to adopt misguided principles created by groups who do not own guns, know nothing about our business, and frankly would rather see us out of business.
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