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Ore. treasurer backs principles for more responsible gun industry


Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read announced Wednesday Oregon’s participation in a new effort by major investors and money managers to improve the safety and responsibility of the firearms industry.

The Oregon Treasury and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund are part of a new coalition – whose members jointly manage more than $4.8 trillion – that released a set of Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry.

The five principles provide a framework for investors as they engage with companies that make, distribute and sell products within the firearms industry, with the goals of improving business practices surrounding gun safety, and reducing investment risks, officials said. The principles call for making firearms themselves safer, universal background checks, and training for gun retailers.

“As a fiduciary of a large, diversified investment portfolio, we frequently engage companies and encourage them to operate in ways that increase the odds of strong long-term returns and to reduce future investment risks,” said Treasurer Tobias Read, who is also a member of the Oregon Investment Council. “These principles are a significant step forward because without them we do not believe the current path is sustainable.”

The signatories stress that they believe in the rule of law and respect the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, “as asset owners and asset managers, we have a duty to our beneficiaries who depend on us for financial security; such obligations compel us to assume responsibility for reducing risks that we and our beneficiaries face if and when we hold a financial interest in both private and public firearms related enterprises.”

The principles are:

Manufacturers should support, advance and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure, and easier to trace. Manufacturers should adopt and follow responsible business practices that establish and enforce responsible dealer standards and promote training and education programs for owners designed around firearms safety. Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should establish, promote, and follow best practices to ensure that no firearm is sold without a completed background check in order to prevent sales to persons prohibited from buying firearms or those too dangerous to possess firearms. Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should educate and train their employees to better recognize and effectively monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement. Participants in the civilian firearms industry should work collaboratively, communicate, and engage with the signatories of these Principles to design, adopt, and disclose measures and metrics demonstrating both best practices and their commitment to promoting these Principles.

You can see the principles at

The effort to develop of the principles was coordinated by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

In addition to OPERF and CalSTRS, other signatories include the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS); Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds; Florida State Board of Administration; Maine Public Employees Retirement System; Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; Nuveen, the asset manager of TIAA; OIP Investment Trust; Rockefeller Asset Management; San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System; and State Street Global Advisors.

The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets, saves money, and helps Oregonians to invest in themselves and their families through empowerment programs like the Oregon College Savings Plan, Oregon ABLE Savings Plan, and OregonSaves. Treasury oversees public investment, banking, and debt management services. State investment policies are set by the Oregon Investment Council. Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money and make smart financial choices.

As an institutional investor, Treasury engages with companies and regulators to protect shareholder rights and to support an array of corporate governance priorities that enhance long-term portfolio sustainability. The Oregon corporate governance program is directed by Jennifer J. Peet.

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