While the future of gun control reform in Congress is uncertain, New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is promoting another idea.
In addition to pushing gun manufacturers to change their business through the law, he suggests also hitting them where it really hurts: their wallets. De Blasio, a Public Advocate for the City of New York, joined The Cycle hosts to explain a campaign that urges divestment from companies that profit from increased gun sales.
“Business as usual is not acceptable,” he said. “We change things in part through the legislative route, but also where it really has an impact, where the money is. Whether it’s public pension fund money, or shaming these big investment houses into getting out of the guns and ammunition business.”
De Blasio urges divestment from what he calls the “dirty dozen” — twelve corporate investors that back the gun industry. These investors hold more than $1.5 billion in gun company stock.
De Blasio’s blacklist:
#1 Cerberus Capital Management: $706-$957 million*
#2 BlackRock, Inc: $345.8 million
#3 State Street Corporation: $140 million
#4 Renaissance Technologies: $79.5 million
#5 Allianz Asset Management AG: $67.9 million
#6 Capital World Investors: $61.6 million
#7 Ameriprise Financial Inc.: $58.2 Million
#8 Northern Trust Corporation: $44.5 million
#9 Tiger Global Management, LLC: $39.5 Million
#10 The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation: $38.3 million
#11 Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co.: $36.8 million
#12 Southpoint Capital Advisors LP: $32.9 million
*Note: On December 18, 2012, Cerberus Capital Management announced that they would be selling their 94% stake in Freedom Group Inc. Value is estimated.
Thomas Dinapoli, the New York State Controller who oversees state retirement investments, recently announced that he will no longer buy stock in publicly-traded gun manufacturers. Other cities are following his lead.
Responding to criticism that officials like Dinapoli should be focusing on maximum investment returns rather than politicizing pension funds, de Blasio said, “If we’re going to change anything, the tool of public pension funds, the tool of going after the big investment houses is absolutely valid.”
“I don’t care if it’s different,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s radical. We’re going to use any tool at our disposal to break the status quo.”
De Blasio also pledged to not take any campaign cash from anyone associated with any of the “dirty dozen firms” or from any hedge fund, investment house, or Wall Street firm that continues to invest in the firearms industry.