By Steve Tawa
PHILADLEPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Pension Board has voted to sell stocks that are tied to the gun industry, if companies don’t adhere to a new set of principles, designed to reduce gun violence.
The “Sandy Hook Principles” follow the recent massacre of young children and staff at that Connecticut elementary school.
Mayor Nutter proposed that the city pension board take this up, like the former Sullivan Principles – named after the Philadelphia preacher Leon Sullivan – which applied economic pressure, beginning in the 1970’s on South Africa in protest of its former system of apartheid.
The city pension board’s Brad Woolworth says they include well-known holdings like Wal-Mart, Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger.
“The total value of those ten publicly held stocks is $8.6-million,” says Woolworth, noting it’s only a small portion of the portfolio.“It’s approximately .27 %.”
Combining direct public investments and holdings in private hedge funds, the city owns about $15 million in gun-related investments in its $4.2 billion pension fund.
City Solicitor Shelley Smith hopes other city, state and public pension funds join the divestment movement.
“Certainly there’s the hope that the collective effort of all of these funds that are considering these measures will have an impact,” says Smith.