NYC pension funds may sell $18 million in gun-related stocks

Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:07pm EST

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(Reuters) - New York City's pension funds may sell nearly $18 million worth of stock in four companies that manufacture guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The city's pension funds join a growing list of investors and corporations that are distancing themselves from the gun industry following a massacre at a school in Newport, Conn., last week that claimed the lives of 20 students who were 6 and 7 years old.

The city is reviewing its holdings and "aggressively exploring all options, including divestment," said Matthew Sweeney, a spokesman for New York City Comptroller John Liu.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a leading advocate for gun control in the U.S., pledging to put some of his personal fortune behind the effort.

New York's pension funds hold nearly $14 million worth of shares in ammunition maker Olin Corp, $1.7 million in gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp, $2.4 million in gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co Inc and $17,866 worth of stock in Brazilian gun maker Forjas Taurus SA.

The holdings constitute a tiny portion of the funds' $127.8 billion in assets as of September 30.

Shares of gun makers have dropped in the aftermath of the shooting on Friday, as public scrutiny of the U.S. gun industry has increased, with some lawmakers and advocates suggesting tighter controls on gun sales and marketing.

(Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra; editing by Andrew Hay)

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