Alternative investment managers have joined the fight for stricter gun control laws in the United States.
Steve Pagliuca, the co-chairman of private equity firm Bain Capital, and Howard Marks, the co-chairman of alternative investment firm Oaktree Capital Management, were among the 145 executives who sent a letter to the Senate Thursday asking them to pass a bill on gun control.
“Doing nothing about America's gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety,” the letter said.
The executives are asking the Senate to pass a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales and a “strong Red Flag law,” which would allow the courts to intervene when someone poses a risk to themselves or others.
A spokesperson for Bain declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Oaktree did not return an email seeking comment.
Other investment firms that signed the letter include Ariel Investments and venture firms Thrive Capital (which was founded by Joshua Kushner, Jared Kushner’s brother), and SV Angels. Spokespeople for Ariel and Thrive did not respond to emails seeking comment. A spokesperson for SV Angels did not return a phone call seeking comment.
“As leaders of some of America’s most respected companies and those with significant business interests in the United States, we are writing to you because we have a responsibility and obligation to stand up for the safety of our employees, customers, and all Americans in the communities we serve across the country,” the letter said.
The letter cited several recent cases of mass shootings, including the El Paso, Texas shooting at a Walmart store that killed 22 people and wounded 24 more, and the Dayton, Ohio shooting that took place less than 24 hours later, killing ten and injuring 27.
According to the letter, 100 Americans are shot and killed each day, while hundreds more are wounded.
“This is a public health crisis that demands urgent action,” the letter said.
Bain and Oaktree aren’t the first investment managers to push for gun control. BlackRock announced in February 2018 after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that it would actively engage with gun makers that they are invested in through passive indexes. Soon after, the firm launched a line of firearm-free investment products.
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Public pension funds have also pushed for stricter laws. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System said in May 2018 that it would consider divesting from gun manufacturers and retailers that didn't stop producing and selling firearms that are illegal in California.
Months later, in November of that year, CalSTRS joined several institutional investors in signing onto a set of five principles calling on gun manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to engage in background checks and make guns safer.