Vanguard: No Assault Weapons

Vanguard

Vanguard should use its power as the second largest money manager to tell companies to stop manufacturing and selling assault weapons. It should divest from those that don't improve for moral and financial reasons.

Vanguard is 3.16% invested in weapon stocks, with $108.78 BILLION invested across 100 equity funds [1]. Vanguard is the second-largest shareholder of assault rifle makers American Outboor Brands (formerly Smith & Wesson), Vista Outdoors and Sturm Ruger, who all make millions off the sale of the AR-15 and similar weapons of war to civilians.

Many large pension funds have already moved to divest from manufacturers of military weapons and civilian firearms. The Yale endowment recently divested from assault weapons retailers [2]. Vanguard's peers, BlackRock and State Street, are already working to imporove the practices of weapons companies in their portfolios. State Street said "We will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to seek greater transparency from them on the ways that they will support the safe and responsible use of their products" [3].

In the wake of media attention driven by mass shootings, some major retailers are moving to restrict or cease gun sales, and lawmakers are discussing increased regulation of the gun industry. By investing in companies that stick with the status quo, Vanguard faces major reputational risks in its portfolio. Vanguard should reduce its exposure to assault weapons by encouraging its companies to stop making and selling assault weapons, and divesting from those that do not comply.

Vanguard: We don’t support mass murder, and neither should you.

[1] https://weaponfreefunds.org/families?q=Vanguard&screen=all

[2] https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/08/24/yale-wont-invest-assault-weapon-sellers

[3] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guns-statestreet/u-s-asset-manager-state-street-to-press-gunmakers-on-safety-efforts-idUSKCN1GA0DZ