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Chicago mayor orders pensions review of weapons holdings

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered a review of city pension fund holdings today to determine whether they hold stakes in companies that manufacture or sell military-style guns.

“We cannot support or invest in companies that profit from the proliferation of assault weapons and the violence these guns bring to our communities,” Mr. Emanuel said in a statement released by his office.

“If our fund managers have invested in a company that manufactures or sells assault weapons, I will ask them to remove these investments from our retirement funds,” said Mr. Emanuel, who ordered Comptroller Amer Ahmad to request the analysis from the city's five pension and retirement funds.

The five funds, with total assets of about $12 billion, are the Chicago Laborers' Annuity & Benefit Fund, the Municipal Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago, Chicago Policemen's Annuity & Benefit Fund, Chicago Park Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund and the Chicago Firemen.

An assault rifle was used in the Dec. 14 killings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Chicago has its own struggle with violence: The city reported 506 homicides in 2012, its highest number in four years.

The mayor's directive comes one week after California Treasurer Bill Lockyer expanded his proposal to have the state's pension funds divest holdings in firearms manufacturers to include companies that make high-capacity ammunition clips.

Last week, the $154.3 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, voted to take steps to divest its holdings in gun manufacturers Sturm Ruger, and Smith & Wesson.