OPINION|Phil Paleologos: Teacher Retirement Funds Invest In Gun Stocks
Simply put, pensions for educators are invested in the firearms industry, even in states where school kids have been gunned down. It's true for Florida retirement funds that invest in gun companies and for our own pension fund here in Massachusetts.
In fact, there are a dozen teacher retirement funds in America that hold gun company stocks, even if the investments are minuscule. If you're a local teacher, how does this fact sit with you?
Some callers told me this is left-handed or sanctimonious from a group largely in favor of more gun control and banning the AR-15. I can see why this is a valid criticism. But in all fairness, the teachers don't choose what stocks their retirement fund invests in.
These investments have become a hot-button issue especially in Florida, where the recent shootings have prompted parents, teachers, and students to pressure officials to "prevent similar attacks."
In the Commonwealth, lawmakers have previously passed measures forcing the fund to divest from tobacco companies and those who do business in South Africa and Sudan.
So the question now becomes, is there enough political will here to stop profiting from guns, some of which are made in this state like Kahr Arms in Worcester or Smith & Wesson in Springfield? The AR-15 used in the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School and at Sandy Hook is manufactured by American Outdoor Brands Corporation, previously known as Smith & Wesson of Massachusetts.
So if our state's pension fund can't divest its gun stocks without legislative action, what do you think the politicians will do? Will they cut ties and profits from the gun industry?
And just as important, will you call upon your representative and senator demanding to unload the gun stocks? I won't.
Phil Paleologos is the morning host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6-10 a.m. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.