This morning, I sat down with the student organizers of the March for Our Lives in Boston.
Sharon, these students are incredible. And here’s the best part: they’re not alone.
Today, more than 800 marches to end gun violence are happening in Massachusetts, across the country, and around the world. Right now, I’m on my way to another march in Springfield, Massachusetts – the home of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson – to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with students who just want to go to school without worrying about getting shot and killed in their classrooms.
These students are on the front lines in the fight to make our democracy work, and I’m with them all the way. And here’s another easy way you can do something to fight for gun reform right now, Sharon – whether you’re marching today or not.
We’re making change. On Thursday, Citigroup announced that it would not do business with any retail clients that sell guns unless they require customers to pass a background check, restrict sales to people under 21, and refuse to sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.
Whether you take to the streets or blast out these tweets, please turn up the heat on lawmakers and corporate investors to take action today.
In the 81 days of 2018, there have been 49 mass shootings across the country. Every 40 hours, innocent lives are cut short, families are torn apart, and the country is left wondering if there was any way to prevent this. It makes me sick to my stomach.
We can’t afford to sit around and wait for the NRA to give Congress permission to do something. We need to keep pushing Congress, but this is an emergency and we need to work on other ways to stop gun violence in America as well.
That’s why last month, I sent a letter to nine of the country’s biggest investment firms – all which are major shareholders for publicly traded gun companies – and asked them to use their financial muscle to push for more responsible behavior by gun manufacturers.
The next day, investment giant BlackRock announced that it would consider creating index funds that exclude gun manufacturers and retailers. Yay! But that was about it. For the most part, the investment firms haven’t had the political courage to step up and lead this fight.
Ultimately, in any public company, shareholders hold the reins. They determine what those companies do, and the shareholders in gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Company, and Vista Outdoors are in a powerful position to encourage gun manufacturers to regulate their own weapons.
There’s a lot that gun manufacturers could do. They could ask retail outlets to impose higher minimum age requirements to purchase of their weapons. They could ask stores to require waiting periods prior to purchase. They could fund research aimed at developing safer weapons. They could step up and try to be part of the solution.
We know these sorts of changes are possible. Just last month, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would stop selling assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and that it would not sell guns to anyone under the age of 21.
I get it: No amount of pressure on the industry can substitute action by Congress – and I’m going to keep fighting in Washington until we pass common sense gun reform. But every change is important, and engaging investors could be a start to help reduce gun violence across the country.
Money talks. Shareholders have power – and I’ll give it everything I’ve got to push these powerful investment firms to use their shareholder strength to demand change. But if we’re going to convince any shareholders to stand up to the gun industry and their powerful friends at the NRA, it’s not going to take just one of us – it’s going to take all of us.
P.S. This Saturday, students from across the country have organized more than 800 "March for Our Lives" events to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools. I'll be joining students in Springfield, Massachusetts – and I hope you'll join a march near you. Click here to find a March for Our Lives event this weekend.