CA Teachers Pension Fund Weighs Divestment from Gun Retailers

CalSTRS1The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) is considering a divestment from any retailer that sells guns or ammunition, in the wake of the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

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California State Treasurer John Chiang believes the divestment should focus on retailers that sell “banned military-style assault weapons.”

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the case for divestment was pressed by Jason Irvine, a Reno, Nevada, resident whose sister, Jennifer Topaz Irvine, was shot and killed in the Vegas attack. He spoke of having to identify his sister’s body after she was shot and said, “I saw with my own eyes and felt with my hands the carnage these weapons inflict.”

Although weapons do not inflict damage — rather, people who misuse weapons do — Irvine’s words found their mark and CalSTRS investment committee chairman Harry Keiley voiced support for looking into divestment. Kieley said, “This is an issue that we alone cannot solve. At the same time, I don’t think we should sit by idly.”

State Treasurer Chiang approached divestment from the angle of minimizing investments in companies “who business efforts are a risk to public health and safety.” He said, “It would be difficult to argue that battlefield assault weapons and aftermarket accessories designed to rain down bullets don’t fall into this category.”

CalSTRS voted to divest of specific firearm and ammunition manufacturers following the December 14, 2012, attack on gun-free Sandy Hook Elementary. On April 3, 2015, Breitbart News reported that some teachers were outraged to find that the pension was still invested in Bushmaster Firearms over two years after the attack. (Bushmaster is the make of gun Adam Lanza stole and used to kill innocents at the school.)

Pension managers told the angry teachers that divestment is a process that could take years in some cases, and it was still ongoing in 2015.

Now Chiang and others want the fund to undertake divestment “in retail companies that sell the weapons and ammunition.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at

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  1. I’m sure this divestiture will go a long ways towards the solvency of the fund.

  2. This really pisses me off. I am securities registered financial advisor and the US DOL is imposing a fiduciary duty on me to always put my clients’ interests ahead of my own; something I have always done anyway. Here we have state pension funds (both CALPERS and CALSTRS) that are NOT acting as though they have any fiduciary duty to 1) invest in the best interest of the people (taxpayers) paying for the pension or 2) the public employees that do and will receive a pension from the funds. The poor tax paying public is constitutionally required to pay what ever is necessary provide the pensions and here we have people using the funds for their own social agenda. Unacceptable.

  3. retiredxlr8r says

    Teachers pension fund should be used to bail out the state, right after all Democrats are deported. Democrats are the ones who agreed to the liberal pensions that have put California in unsustainable debt! Teachers unions are the ones who bought and paid for the Democrats who agreed to put California in debt!
    Thanks Gov. Brown! No better enemy of the citizen then you.

  4. What the treasurer shows with his line ” battlefield assault weapons and aftermarket accessories designed to rain down bullets” is his total lack of knowledge of the subject of guns. The AR 15 and similar weapons are not battlefield military weapons. No military in the world would use them and the bump stock is designed to help the handicapped shoot a rifle not make it shoot faster. The parts that the anti-gun crowd use to define an Assault rifle are nothing bus cosmetics that do not affect the way it fires in any way. They even think that the AR stands for assault rifle. It does not

  5. One more proof that in California being exceptionally stupid is more than normal. It has become, what is expected, when you decide to follow the lemming in front of you to your death. Financing the retirement of those subscribers is of course shifted to the taxpayer when there are no self generated funds to accomplish the payouts God help the stupid people of California, on their way to becoming the Detroit like state. Led by Democrats into oblivion and reckless decisions which make them feel socially acceptable.

  6. So whats new? Just one more move to the Left and in line with the CPUSA agenda of disarming law abiding citizens. One day only the
    socialist elite, Politicians and the rest of the crooks will be the only ones armed to protect them from their serfs.

  7. CALSTRS “social investing” has cost their investment fund some $2 Billion. Not to worry, the loss will be picked up by the taxpayers. To its credit CALPERS has largely ignored the practice – not that they aren’t just a screwed up in other ways..

  8. J. Richards Garcia says

    The pension fund staffs, democrat politicians, and government employee members of California defined benefit pension funds have been taunting other board members and taxpayers for 30 years that staffs, politicians and democrats can do anything with pension money they please under the California constitution and the taxpayer must accept increased taxes to cover the mis-management of the pension funds.
    After winning a board vote to divest a category of stocks, I have personally witnessed safety members (police and fire officers) of a pension board grinning impudently at minority board members saying any losses will be required to be made up by increased taxes, and saying or implying there’s nothing you can do about it—yan, yan, yan, YAN, yan!
    Yes, safety members have conceded, the divestments are political and they were actually using pension monies (derivatively public taxes) to pay for democrat political speech, but the public taxpayer would still have to pay for their message through increased taxes.
    Many safety officers are politically left-leaning, especially those who run for pension board seats. They have no idea the typical gun owner is on the side of the police. These safety officers wrongly serve themselves by flagrantly attacking the public that only seek to protect themselves and their families.
    Point 1: The constitutional provision is not nearly as strong as they think and would likely fail government employee unions without considering any other factor.
    Point 2: The law of fiduciary responsibility still forces board members to hold the financial interests of the pensioners above ALL other interests.
    Point 3: Government employees controlling their own pension funds have a very real conflict of interest with taxpayers. Note: Government employees owe their existence to the public and not to democrats. Theoretically, only the public should vote on investments of government pension funds.
    Point 4: Each time the government callously and carelessly seizes pension dollars and investments for political speech without the consent of the governed, it further weakens the constitution provision to the point of no support at all for politically-inspired divestments. In other words, the more they destroy wealth by divesting politically unfavored stocks, the more they support decreases in their own retirements when there’s not enough money to pay the promised pension. Hint: When political correctness rubs up against economic reality, economic reality wins every time there’s NO money!

  9. By all means please disengage from any form of investment that they desire because they don’t deserve to have a pension with the product they produce. The teachers of CA are ANTIFA!

  10. Always remember “social justice” and “political correctness supersedes all other concerns. It seemed like such a wonderful idea, too bad it doesn’t work!

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