California teachers pension fund moves to divest from assault-weapon makers


Teddy bears and flowers, in memory of those killed, are left at a memorial down the street from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.


Spencer Platt

The largest teachers pension fund in the United States has begun the process of divesting from companies that manufacture semi-automatic firearms and large ammunition clips, the Associated Press reported.

So-called assault weapons were used to kill 20 children and 6 teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December, and the tragedy inspired the investment committee of the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) to look at its portfolio, KXTV reported. Assault weapons are banned in California.

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"This latest incident which occurred at a school and involved fellow educators and the children we cherish, is a tipping point for CalSTRS and speaks to the correctness of our actions," investment committee chair Harry Keiley said in a statement, according to KXTV.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer made a motion today to begin the process of divesting from companies that make weapons that are not legal in California, KXTV reported.

The $155 billion fund is invested in private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, which owns a company that made an assault weapon used at Sandy Hook, as well as in two publicly traded gun manufacturers, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., the AP reported.

Pension officials told the AP that those investments add up to only $11.7 million of the fund’s holdings.