Gun maker put on notice that business solutions to address gun violence are expected to help mitigate mounting financial and reputational risks.
NEW YORK, NY, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH, 2018 - At today’s American Outdoor Brands’ ($AOBC) annual meeting of shareholders, a proposal requesting a report on corporate activities to promote safer guns filed by members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility was passed by shareholders.
The proponents say the strong result provides evidence of growing concern in the investment community amid public demands for meaningful actions on the part of gun makers to help solve escalating gun violence.
The resolution, filed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S. – Ontario Province, requested that the board provide a report detailing its efforts to: a) monitor events of gun violence associated with its products, and; b) research safer gun products. An identical resolution filed at Sturm Ruger received 70% shareholder support this spring.
As the legal, financial and reputational risks to gun manufacturers mount on a daily basis due to high profile gun violence events, the eleven co-filers of the resolution which included both long- and short-term institutional shareowners, viewed the report as essential to the company’s long-term sustainability. They see today’s vote as proof that other shareholders agree.
“We are all looking for solutions to gun violence,” said Sr. Judy Byron who presented the resolution at the meeting. “The shareholders who filed this proposal believe that, as a company directly implicated in these events, American Outdoor Brands is obligated to help find them. Not only can these solutions help save many lives, they may help AOBC’s long-term business prospects in the process and we are gratified that so many of our fellow shareholders supported our resolution today.”
The majority of guns used in crimes in major U.S. cities are AOBC guns. AOBC’s AR-15 style rifle was used in mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, San Bernardino, California and Aurora, Colorado – just a few of the most recent and highest profile violent incidents involving AOBC products that the investors say present grave financial and reputational risks.
National polls show that safer firearms are sought by 59 % of Americans, 43% of current gun owners and, importantly, the Chiefs of Police of over 70 major cities.
“While gun violence is an issue of concern to everyone, the responsibility to market safe guns to the public appropriately lies with gun manufacturers and distributors,” said Colleen Scanlon of Catholic Health Initiatives.“Today’s vote shows that investors are united in their view that AOBC has a responsibility to authentically examine its business to learn what it might do to meet the demand for safer guns. Other companies without AOBC’s resources are doing so.”
Investors say they look forward to working with the board and management to produce the report.
ICCR, Director of Communications
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Celebrating its 47th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities, socially responsible asset managers, unions, pensions, NGOs and other socially responsible investors with combined assets of over $400 billion. ICCR members engage hundreds of corporations annually in an effort to foster greater corporate accountability