March 13, 2018, Seattle, Washington – Faith-based shareholders – including the Adrian Dominican Sisters and other congregations of women religious – have found some success in their long-term campaign to work with gun manufacturers and dealers to reduce gun violence in the United States.
In the spring of 2016, Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, met with a group of faith-based members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to address the issue of gun safety. In response, 15 religious communities, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, bought stock in gun manufacturers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, and retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods so that they could work with these companies to reduce the availability of guns.
The faith-based investors requested a dialogue with the three companies. As a result of their discussions, Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to stop selling assault weapons in their stores. Because the other two companies did not respond to their request, the investors filed shareholder resolutions asking that the companies issue reports by February 2019 on their “activities related to gun safety measures and the mitigation of harm associated with products produced by the company.”
Sister Judy said that when the issue of gun safety was brought up two years ago, “we never wanted to be where we are today, grieving our children and teachers who were murdered and wounded at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. But we are here, and we are being led by the young people who are demanding that we take action to end gun violence.”
The religious communities’ work with the corporations is one example of the corporate responsibility work of organizations such as the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB is also involved in community investment, granting low-interest loans to non-profit organizations that address the needs of local communities.
For more on the efforts in the area of gun violence, read the CNBC article and the report by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center.