Responding to the elementary school massacre in Connecticut, CalPERS on Tuesday moved to unload $5 million worth of investments in two makers of firearms that are illegal in California.
The investment committee of the California Public Employees' Retirement System voted 9-3 to approve a divestment proposal by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. The decision affects two publicly traded companies, Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger, and follows the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Because all members of the CalPERS governing board sit on the investment committee, Tuesday's vote doesn't need to be ratified by the board.
"Given the portfolio dollar amounts involved, the divestment may be largely symbolic," Lockyer said in a statement issued after the vote. "But it's still important."
The three dissenting votes came from Richard Costigan, Bill Slaton and Dan Dunmoyer. According to Bloomberg News, Dunmoyer noted that CalPERS invests in other companies that make products banned in California, such as certain blends of gasoline.
Last month the California State Teachers' Retirement System voted to sell its investments in companies making firearms banned in California. CalSTRS' biggest weapon investment is through its holdings in Cerberus Capital Management, owner of Freedom Group, maker of the weapon used in Newtown. Cerberus has put Freedom up for sale.
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