LA Mayor: Divert Retirement Funds From Gun Companies - KMSP-TV

LA Mayor: Move Retirement Funds From Gun Companies

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today called for the city's three pension fund managers to divest from companies that make firearms, ammunition or high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Villaraigosa made the announcement during an afternoon news conference to reiterate his call for curbing gun violence with a renewed ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. City Councilwoman Jan Perry first proposed retirement funds divest from gun and ammo companies on Friday.

"I don't want to make a quarter, not a penny, not a dime on companies that make those weapons of war," Villaraigosa said.

In letters sent today, Villaraigosa asked the governing boards of the retirement funds for Department of Water and Power employees, the city's nearly 20,000 civilian workers and nearly 14,000 police and firefighters to look into how much money the city has invested in companies that produce guns or ammunition.

"The city of Los Angeles funds should not go to profit companies that produce weapons designed to maximize carnage and death," Villaraigosa said. "It is a moral and financial imperative to end the relationship with these companies."

It could take weeks to find out how much money the city has invested in firearms makers, the mayor said. He also acknowledged that some of the city's investments in hedge funds would make it difficult to know for sure whether gun or ammunition manufacturers are profiting from the city's retirement funds' investments.

Villaraigosa said he supports President Barack Obama's proposals and actions earlier today to curb gun violence, including to study the rates and causes of gun violence accross the country. The mayor accused the gun advocates including the National Rifle Association of actively blocking the studies.

The NRA, which has called for armed security guards at schools across the nation to prevent shootings like the one that occurred last month in Newtown, Conn., said in response to Obama's proposals, "Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.

"Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy," according to the group.

The mayor said he supports a proposal by City Councilman Paul Krekorian Tuesday to ban not just the sale, but the possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines in the city.

Villaraigosa sent a list of recommendations to Vice President Joe Biden last week on how to reduce gun violence. They included a new federal ban on the production, sale and possession of automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines; more federal funding for local law enforcement to support gun buybacks and staff to monitor prohibited persons databases; and a requirement for ammunition sellers to keep records of ammunition sales and to obtain a federal license regardless of whether they sell firearms.

"The country is anxious for intelligent solutions to gun violence and is looking to us as leaders to ensure their safety and their children's safety," the mayor wrote in the letter to Biden.

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