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Governance

Sen. Elizabeth Warren asks gun company shareholders to push firms to reduce gun violence

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Letters sent to 9 money managers that are major shareholders in gun manufacturers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent letters to nine major gun company shareholders Tuesday requesting that the shareholders use their financial leverage to ensure the gun companies take steps to reduce gun violence.

The letters were sent to BlackRock (BLK), Dimensional Fund Advisors, Fidelity Investments, First Eagle Investment Management, Invesco (IVZ), London Co. of Virginia, LSV Asset Management, Vanguard Group and Voya Investment Management, which have stakes in American Outdoor Brands Corp., Sturm Ruger & Co. and/or Vista Outdoors.

"Your company is in a powerful position. You have reaped significant benefits from your investment in gun manufacturers, but have done little to reduce the violence and murders caused by their products," Ms. Warren wrote in the letters. "I urge you to begin to use your vast investment in gun manufacturers to prevent gun violence."

Ms. Warren asked the firms to brief her staff on their plans by March 9.

Ms. Warren's letters come just less than two weeks after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The AR-15 rifle that was used in the Feb. 14 shooting is manufactured by Smith & Wesson, a subsidiary of the publicly traded American Outdoor Brands, Ms. Warren's office said in a news release.

Although BlackRock indicated last week that it would speak with weapons manufacturers and distributors to learn more about their response to the Parkland shooting, Ms. Warren said in the news release Tuesday that "having conversations is simply not enough." A BlackRock spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Responding to a request for comment Monday on their engagement efforts with gun companies, spokeswomen for Vanguard and Fidelity declined to provide specifics but said their firms regularly engage with companies across industries on a number of topics.