New York City’s police pension won’t sell about $10 million in gun-related holdings, the president of the biggest officer union says. The decision by the $26.8 billion fund contrasts with those of New York City’s teacher pension and other public funds divesting or considering it after the massacre of 20 children at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school last year.
“While the social impact of pension investments can be a consideration, there is no evidence that the manufacturers of these weapons that are the tools of the trade for law enforcement have done anything improper,” says Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. The pension board’s primary responsibility is to make sound investments, he said in a statement.
The PBA represents 50,000 active and retired New York City police officers, many of whom fight gun crime directly each day.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made restricting gun sales a signature issue. He serves as co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 700 mayors who advocate new laws and stiffer enforcement of existing ones. The group argues for measures to keep guns away from criminals.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
New York City’s police pension’s holdings were mostly in two companies as of Feb. 6, according to Connor Osetek, a spokesman for Comptroller John Liu. The fund owned about $5.5 million in shares of Alliant Techsystems, which supplies ammunition to law-enforcement agencies, and $3.7 million of Oliin Corp, shares. Olin also makes bullets.
The $46.6 billion New York teachers’ pension said last month that it would sell $13.5 million in stock of five gun and ammunition makers.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-biggest U.S. pension, said in January it would sell $2.9 million of Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger & Co. stocks that it held through index funds
The $158 billion California teachers’ pension also held a stake in New York-based Cerberus Capital Management LP. The private-equity firm owned Freedom Group Inc., the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that police said was the primary weapon in the Connecticut attack.
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Z. Braun in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
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