A new front is opening today in the fight against gun violence: divestment. Today, a coalition of more than twenty well-known national organizations, led by Campaign to Unload and States United to Prevent Gun Violence, are launching a new hard-hitting campaign to defund gun manufacturers: “Unload Your 401K.” Their message: “You might be invested in gun companies and not even realize it.”
“Unload Your 401K” features a new tactic, divestment of stock in gun companies, and a new tool to empower the public to take action. UnloadYour401k, which launches today, will empower people upset with gun violence to stop financially supporting guns. The campaign will target Sturm Ruger (RGR), Smith & Wesson (SWHC), and Olin (OLN). Nearly half the value of these three companies comes from mutual funds.
The website includes a powerful short film that brings together family members of those killed or wounded in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and everyday gun violence.
See the short film here.
“Divestment is a new front in the war against America’s epidemic of gun violence,” said Jennifer Fiore, Executive Director of Campaign to Unload. “It’s time to defund the companies that profit from gun violence and obstruct the political change that would end it. Over 51 million Americans have a 401K retirement plan that could be contributing to the gun lobby– driving wealth to gun manufacturers and funding efforts that have stalled all action in Congress.”
“People horrified by Sandy Hook and Columbine are financially supporting the gun industry, and with today’s launch they will have the tools to fight back,” adds Sue Hornik, Executive Director of States United.
Divestment can be a powerful tool for change — playing a huge part in the end of Apartheid in South Africa and in changing tobacco policy in the US. People don’t want to financially support industries that cause harm– and divestment allows opponents of gun violence a key pathway to express, act, and organize on their concerns.
“When my son was shot and killed at Columbine, my world was turned upside down,” said Tom Mauser of Littleton, CO, whose story is featured in the new ‘Unload Your 401K’ video. “The idea that my retirement investments could be supporting this irresponsible industry — could be supporting the industry that has vigorously fought reasonable gun safety laws — is devastating. Divestment is an essential tool to fight back against this senseless gun violence and the wealthy gun makers driving it.”
“Gun companies are getting rich off manufacturing people killers, and I want no part of it,” concluded Lori Haas, whose daughter survived the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.
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The Campaign to Unload is a national coalition of 50 leaders and organizations representing over 20 million Americans calling for divestiture from the gun industry. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.
States United to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer. Together with our 27 state affiliates, States United is working to build healthy communities by reducing gun death and injury through stronger laws, education and grassroots action.