A press release from Democratic Colorado Treasurer candidate Dave Young last week announces a policy change he’s advocating with regard to the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association funds–getting PERA out of investments in firearms manufacturers:
Today in Denver, Rep. Dave Young spoke out against the news that over $1 million of Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) investments are held in gun and ammunition companies.
Representative Dave Young said, “As State Treasurer, I will work to divest any PERA investments from the gun industry. We must stop gun violence and mass shootings. That is why I have worked to pass improve background checks, limit magazine sizes, and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals. PERA should not invest in businesses that directly or indirectly put our children’s safety at risk.”
Directly after the Columbine High School massacre, Rep. Mike Coffman pushed to increase PERA’s investments in major gun and ammunition companies like Ruger and Smith & Wesson. Current State Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, has since not commented on these investments. In 2013, Rep. Young voted to limit magazine sizes in a statewide effort led by Democrats to make our schools and streets safer.
Dave continued, “As a math teacher for 24 years, I am PERA member and know just how important PERA is. Not just to me but to thousands of Colorado teachers, firefighters, police officers, and public servants. As Treasurer, I will fight relentlessly to defend PERA.”
The firearms industry is by all accounts consistently profitable, which would make it natural choice for institutions looking for a stable and reliable investment. In recent years, the gun industry has seen demand for its products soar with a news cycle frequently punctuated by mass shooting events that stoke fear of imminent wholesale losses of gun rights–leading to panic buying with no relationship to any other economic indicator.
The problem, of course, is that all this gun money is not being made in a vacuum. And whatever factors drive the buying and selling of guns in America, the economic value of the guns themselves is no longer society’s most important consideration.
Besides there are plenty of less-lethal but still profitable investment vehicles, like casinos or booze.