Nuns, Guns and Mutual Funds

A “Gun Safety 2018—Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.” proposal spearheaded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary of Marylhurst, OR, passed on May 9 during the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The Wall Street Journal reports the nuns got in the habit of buying the company’s stock two years ago, along with shares of American Outdoor Brands, to “pressure executives for change.” By the time the meeting was held the nuns, guns and mutual funds group had amassed the minimum number of shares to force the measure’s consideration. Ruger’s Board of Directors had recommended against the move.

It requires, among other things, that by Feb. 8 the company produce a document detailing how the firm monitors any misuse of its products. Information on research into safer guns and reputation/financial risk of its products are also mandated in the document [Page 23 of the PDF].

Company Response

The Ruger response was fast. It 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. As our CEO explained, ‘we are Americans who work together to produce rugged, reliable, innovative and affordable firearms for responsible citizens. We are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment not because we make firearms, but because we cherish the rights conferred by it. We understand the importance of those rights and, as importantly, recognize that allowing our constitutionally protected freedoms to be eroded for the sake of political expediency is the wrong approach for our Company, for our industry, for our customers, and for our country. We are arms makers for responsible citizens and I want to assure our long-term shareholders and loyal customers that we have no intention of changing that.’”

Nuns, Guns and Mutual Funds Team

The Sisters of the Holy Names, founded originally in 1843 Quebec, Canada, consists of several branches, including the financial activists in Oregon that explains on its website, “As vowed religious and associates, we minister with a deep longing for a new creation, a passion for the reign of God’s justice to be among us.”

Gun Control Lobbyists hired by Dick’s

Paperwork filed with the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on April 27 indicates gun control lobbyists hired by Dick’s Sporting Goods—from The Glover Park Group—will consist of a menagerie of staff members to advocate the company’s anti-Second Amendment stance. The trio named in the document have a lengthy list of Capital Hill credentials.

The firm formed in 2001 and its legislative branch rose near Washington, DC, in 2005. It’s headed by a former senior advisor to cigar-toting Bill Clinton when he was in the White House and the Secret Service never smelled smoke. Some of the company’s noteworthy efforts include vastly successful work with Hillary Clinton before her run for President in 2006. It also handled promotions for Michael Moore’s anti-climactic film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” The company is owned as part of a London-based international communications conglomerate, where the right to self-defense has been suspended until historians solve Stonehenge.

Tricky Dick’s

Surrendering profit to underwrite gun control lobbying is the latest in many well-publicized moves by Dick’s to neuter the Second Amendment. The company announced on Feb. 28 that the 35-store Field & Stream chain it opened in 2013 was pulling out of modern sporting rifles, along with standard-capacity magazines. It also restricted sales of all firearms and ammunition to anyone under the age of 21. The move consolidated an otherwise dysfunctional policy with the parent company, which removed AR-15s from its shelves in 2012.   

On April 19, a company official hardened the stance in a story carried by CNN. “We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” the official statement read. “We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.” 

The number of modern sporting rifles involved was not disclosed, leading to speculation that the nearly three dozen outlets were short on supply or customers had already escorted inventory home. Either would make the public relations announcement vastly more profitable than handcuffing personnel for hours to package and return merchandise, only then to submit more profit to what some claim are obscene wholesaler restocking fees. 

Springfield Cuts Off Dick’s

On May 3 Springfield Armory, maker of the legendary XD series of handguns, 1911s, the Saint and M1s, among others, announced on its Facebook page that it would no longer be selling to Dick’s. “This latest action follows Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision to remove and destroy all modern sporting rifles (MSR) from their inventory. In addition, they have denied Second Amendment rights to American’s under the age of 21,” the company statement reads. “We at Springfield Armory believe that all law abiding American citizens of adult age are guaranteed this sacred right under our Constitution.”

The gun control lobbyists hired by Dick’s come at a financially challenging time for retailers. Big box sporting goods stores continue to close shop, and according to a Fortune magazine story last year, Dick’s dropped the ball when it failed to capitalize on the disappearance of 30 percent of its competitors. Shares in the company were trading at $41.34 at the time the article was written, but have gone deflated to around $32 this month.

The move by Springfield Armory makes me proud to be the owner of several of the company’s handguns, like the one seen in the photo above. Their guns function everyone bit as good as they look and some wonderful people with principles work there.