SF supervisor calls for city to stop investing in firearm manufacturers

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San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell is calling for the city's employee retirement system to stop investing in companies that participate in firearm and ammunition manufacturing following recent mass shootings.

Outside San Francisco City Hall a rainbow flag has been lowered in honor of the Orlando shooting victims. Inside Supervisor Mark Farrell introduced a proposal to hit the firearms industry where it hurts - in the wallet.

"Unfortunately, we're pre-empted in many levels by federal and state laws on this issue, so we do what we can," said Supervisor Farrell.

Farrell wants the board that handles the city employee pension fund to dump its investment in gun and ammo manufactures.

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Legislation set to be introduced to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday would require the San Francisco Retirement Board to immediately divest itself of investments in three companies -- Orbital ATK, Vista Outdoor and Sturm, Ruger & Co., Farrell said.

Divestment would be a symbolic gesture, the city's stake in the firearms industry is only $1 million in a $20 billion dollar portfolio. Retirement board member Victor Makras supports the move and says there is no financial risk.

"At the end of the day, we don't want to benefit from gun manufacturers. We don't need that profit. We can make money in other place in an honorable way," he said.

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Makras proposed divestment after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, but no action was taken. Supervisor Farrell hopes attitudes have since changed.

"I think it's important in San Francisco that we standup and send a message," said Farrell.

The supervisors will vote on his resolution next week and the retirement board next month.

The California State Teachers' Retirement System and the California Public Employees' Retirement System have also recently voted to divest from investments in firearms and ammunition manufacturers, Farrell said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.
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