New Jersey’s $78 billion state pension has sold its $1.9 million stake in the firearm and ammunition maker Vista Outdoor and may try to engage weapons makers and retailers to push for “positive change” in their business practices.
The move comes just weeks after a state senator, Vin Gopal, introduced legislation to bar the state from investing in companies that make guns or ammunition. It is part of a fresh wave of activism by public pensions in response to the outcry over gun violence after the deadly shootings at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February.
Earlier this month, the State of Michigan Retirement System said it sold its shares of Olin Corp., a chemical company that also makes Winchester ammunition. But California’s Public Employees Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension, voted against a similar proposal to sell stakes of rifle sellers, saying it could use its influence as a major shareholder more effectively than sending a message by divesting.