BlackRock Goes Public With Questions To Gun Industry

03/02/18 12:19 PM EST
By Sarah Krouse 

BlackRock Inc. went public with the questions that it is asking of gun makers and sellers in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., an unusual step by the world's largest asset manager.

The notice posted to BlackRock's website Friday is the latest sign that money managers are ramping up pressure on companies that make and sell weapons. The questions range from litigation risks and gun safety to background checks and staff training.

Investing giant Blackstone Group last weekend asked outside fund managers to detail their ownership in companies that make or sell guns. State Street Global Advisors, another big money manager, has said it also plans to reach out to gun makers with questions.

A number of American companies have reassessed their relationships with the gun industry and the National Rifle Association following last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Major retailers including Kroger Co., Walmart Inc. and Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. said earlier this week that they would stop selling guns to anyone under 21 years old.

BlackRock is the largest shareholder in gun makers Sturm Ruger & Co. and American Outdoor Brands, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, as well as a large shareholder in firms such as Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods. BlackRock said in the notice that it doesn't own any gun makers in its actively managed stock funds, and in index-tracking funds those companies comprise 0.01% of assets under management.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 02, 2018 12:19 ET (17:19 GMT)

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