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CalPERS panel votes to divest gun-maker stocks

Smith &amp; Wesson guns

California Public Employees' Retirement System will divest approximately $5 million in gun manufacturer stocks following a 9-3 vote by its investment committee Tuesday.

The vote came at the urging of state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. The exclusion affects makers of weapons and ammunition that are illegal in California.

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear said the fund owned stocks of two gun makers, Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co.

Mr. Dear said the divestiture would not have a negative effect on CalPERS' portfolio, but dissident committee members said CalPERS was making the wrong move.

Board member Richard Costigan said the fund would be going down a “slippery slope.” He asked what would be next, noting that some acne medications are banned in California because of ingredients that are deemed dangerous to the environment.