Do Guns Belong in Your Portfolio?

Socially responsible investing, or SRI, has long been known for avoiding ownership of shares of gun makers and other weapons manufacturers. However, in the wake of several particularly tragic and massive shootings recently, investors should be thinking about pulling guns out of their portfolios, regardless of whether they consider themselves SRI investors or not.

Target: Divestment
Some huge investors are already taking this step in the wake of heartbreaking tragedies like the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

One of the biggest pension funds in the country, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, commonly known as CalSTRs, is beginning the process of divesting itself of all gun manufacturers as we speak. According to The New York Times, teachers voted in a public meeting against their retirement money being invested in firearms makers.

Because of CalSTRS' responsibility to preserve the money of the educators whose pensions it manages, it may take years to completely divest itself of gun companies' stocks (it took years for it to completely ditch tobacco stocks, for example). However, an institutional investor as big and influential as CalSTRS sends a major message about companies that manufacture firearms.

Private equity firm Cerberus also announced that it's selling its stake in Freedom Group, which makes guns under brands like Remington and also manufactures the Bushmaster rifle that was used in the particularly heinous Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Dangerous holdings
Along those lines, many people who haven't actively invested in gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC  ) and Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR  ) may not be completely disconnected from these stocks. These stocks could be in many funds unbeknownst to Americans who are simply trying to save for retirement. For example, CalSTRS owned both through an index fund.

As it turns out, fund giant Vanguard is one of the largest holders of both Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger. Since both companies, as well as ammunition manufacturer Olin (NYSE: OLN  ) are part of the Russell 2000 and 3000 indexes, they're fair game for index fund holdings.

Domini Social Investments' Adam Kanzer recently examined this aspect of the issue at length, calling on the need for institutional investors to address issues like social harm. Trillions of dollars of mutual fund assets are being allocated into public companies' shares, often with little or no concern for some businesses' long-term negative ramifications on society.

Even some retail companies can be involved in the tangle of controversy. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) pulled down its website listing for the Bushmaster rifle after the Sandy Hook tragedy, although the rifle was still sold in its stores, and Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS  ) actually suspended sales of such guns "out of respect for victims and their families."

Incidentally, earlier this week Wal-Mart did accept an invitation to the White House to talk about the issue with Vice President Joe Biden after having originally declined. Wal-Mart's size and breadth makes it a no-brainer go-to retailer in terms of gun sales. Interestingly enough, Wal-Mart had reduced its gun offerings in 2006, but added such merchandise back into the mix at some of its stores in 2011 due to its struggles to increase its U.S. sales at the time.

Too high a price
I would rather not get into the political arguments about gun control; I believe those are red herrings that miss the real point related to many tragic and violent events. As atrocious as some of the recent incidents of massive gun-related violence have been, I'm in the increasingly vocal camp that believes our society's inability to realistically or constructively deal with mental health issues is the problem more than the instruments through which severely mentally ill people do harm.

Still, I am a proponent of choice, and choosing to try to do what I believe is the right thing. I wouldn't choose to purchase shares of Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger, or Olin for my portfolio. As a socially responsible investor, I am not looking to profit from products that can and do facilitate peoples' violent acts against one another or even themselves.

Not only do I believe this the ethical choice, I also believe it's common sense. Companies that provide harmful products run the major risks of lawsuits, regulatory action, and public backlash, all of which make their stocks risky investments even in the purely financial sense.

Regardless of all the argument and debates, it's time for all kinds of investors to think twice about whether harmful stocks like these are really worthwhile holdings for their investment portfolios. For those of us who know companies are more than just ticker symbols and share prices, long-term investment dollars do send a message of support for companies' business models. Given recent events and their impacts on society, such stocks represent too high a price to pay, so the message should be, "No, thanks."

Rethink your stock picks
Looking for ideas for companies to replace the gun makers in your portfolio? Get the inside scoop on what Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner will be buying this year. He's crushed the market in his Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers portfolios for years, and now you can get a personal tour of his flagship stock picking service: SupernovaJust click here now for instant access. 

Check back at Fool.com for more of Alyce Lomax's columns on environmental, social, and governance issues.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated that Adam Kanzer works for Reuters. The Fool regrets the error.


Read/Post Comments (63) | Recommend This Article (18)

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  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 3:07 PM, piranha60565 wrote:

    The calsters shouldn't steer anyone away from guns, as you stated they did the same thing to tobacco companies and those stocks performed well over that time span. I also think that comparing the two is pretty far-fetched as there wasn't really a doubt as to what cigarettes do to people. Most guns are used for good reasons (hunting, protection, sport etc), save the psychos

    SRI seems to be extremely subjective. Sometimes too subjective to be considered an "investing style". I also think that it sways you away from being a prototypical contrarian value investor. Just my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 3:23 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Gun control involves the theory that the people murdered in the LA riots of 1992 are somehow morally superior to the people who used guns to keep the rioters away from their homes and shops. There are more of those people, saved by their ownership of weapons, than there are victims of these crazy shooters.

    It also requires the acceptance that a woman found raped and strangled is morally superior to the woman explaining to the police why her attacker is now bleeding from a bullet wound.

    Neither of these notions pass the smell test. How is it that we can praise people who keep their heads in stock market panics, and vilify people who keep their heads in the emotional backlash of events like Aurora or Sandy Hook?

    When you figure out how to make the ban on drugs work, then maybe a ban on guns can. But you are up against a much better informed and more responsible set of citizens than dopers. How did Prohibition work out?

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 3:26 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Gun control involves the theory that the rights of handful of crazy people who would shoot up innocents outweigh the rights of the 310 Million other Americans and visitors who would never consider such an atrocity. It requires belief that your ownership to protect against violent criminals, or rioters, or rapists, are not as important as the right of crazies not to be required to take their meds or stay in a sheltered environment.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 3:47 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Gun control requires you to believe that Jews in Auschwitz, Armenians in Turkey and Intellectuals in Pol Pot's Cambodia were morally superior to anyone who successfully defends against their own massacre.

    I don't want to ever "want" to carry one, but I never want to be told that I no longer have the right to, because "we will protect you". When seconds count, the cops are 10 minutes away. In the case of the LA Riots, they stayed out of sight for hours while people were murdered, their property stolen and homes and businesses set afire. Kristallnacht isn't just ancient European history.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 3:49 PM, miclane05 wrote:

    Alyce,

    I seldom agree with your articles and, admitted, am not a SRI, but I think you make good points that (1) our society's handling of mental health issues needs major improvement, and (2) investors should think about what they are investing in and why.

    Ultimately, I'm bullish on RGR because I think that these recent tragedies will encourage more people to go out and buy guns, for better or worse, and as a longtime MO shareholder, the risk of litigation, in and of itself, is not always a bad thing if its effect is to depress share prices.

    As Pirahna60565 notes, its hard to define SRI investing (is it against WMT, KMI, KO, MCD?) but perhaps the difference is that SRI investors see their share purchases as a public endorsement of the corporation itself, whereas I see it as an endorsement that the corporation's price relative to the value of its "widgets" is and will remain attractive.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 4:27 PM, ComradeV wrote:

    I believe tobacco and firearms to be socially responsible investments. Their gain to society exceeds their cost.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 4:41 PM, gskinner75006 wrote:

    Political correctness is what is killing our society, not guns, etc...

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 4:44 PM, Neal568 wrote:

    As a socially reponsible investor, I feel it socially responsible to make my own way and not take any handouts. Therefore, I invest where I think I can make money. I think I can make money, now, investing in gun and ammo makers. I know some who are investing in guns and ammo directly, but in the past few weeks I have made enough to buy guns and ammo and still have my original money. I don't choose to buy the actual weapons at this time. There isn't enough room in my pocket for another one, anyway.

    Also, as a SRI, I feel it important to support the guns and ammo industry. The 2nd amendment makes it clear that we the people need to own weapons equal to the military so that we can protect the country from an oppressive government. What could be more socially responsible than that?

    Unfortunately, they did not include a guide in the Constitution as to what constitutes an oppressive government. A lot of people think we are pretty close.

    Feel free to sell your shares in RGR, SWHC and OLN...I'll buy them.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 4:46 PM, poinke wrote:

    As an investor, I agree miclane above and if I had to provide analysis, I would be bullish on RGR as well. Look at any Cabela's, Duck's Unlimited, or any other gun website you choose shows tremendous back order/out of stock.

    I might even call RGR a safe investment for the short term.

    But, unlike ComradeV, I don't see the long term benefit of more RGR (though I firmly support individual choice).

    I'd rather give my money to companies that may perhaps enhance my kids' (& their kids) future & the world they'll inherit.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 7:52 PM, michaelkm88 wrote:

    Socially responsible? Come on, if you dig into a company deep enough their is something wrong with every company, every person. Is it socially responsible for companies to pay people minimum wage when management makes six figures sitting in on meetings at noon twice a week? Shouldn't we all just do the "right thing" like spread the wealth around? I contend everyone making a buck off the continued hard work of their underlings should be labeled a socially irresponsible company and we should all stop buying there stock. Oh wait then the only stock we could buy would be non profit stocks. Woops, how would they make us money?

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2013, at 9:20 PM, borneofan wrote:

    I agree that our society's handling of the mentally ill continues to be a problem, but I find this to be an indictment of the total lack of freedom, responsibility, or even the concept of a customer within the government controlled health care market in the US, and a hemorrhaging political football in NC for decades. But it has no bearing on the gun discussion.

    While I do not consider myself an SRI, if I did believe such, RGR would be an excellent choice to demonstrate the individuals responsibility to society and bedrock constitutional values.

    I bought RGR when I read of their beginning a lean transformation. Such transformations typically wreck Wall Street numbers for a year or two till the cash flow explodes. The timing of their transformation with Obama's imminent election facing that idiot McCain was fortuitous and I saw it as a huge boost to a solid company and a sure thing. I just wish I had bought more of what was then a thinly traded small cap.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 1:26 AM, kahunacfa wrote:

    Have been a very long-term holder of Sturm Ruger(RGR) shares. Portfolio cost is less than $4 per share.

    I respect the potential power as well as the potential for misuse of firearms. As a retired Military Intelligence Officer trained as an Expert in numerous firearms from the Colt 1911 A1a 0.45, the M-60 machine gun as well as the M-80 grenade launcher, I have carried firearms as a natural part of my prior work experience as an Officer.

    Recently added holdings of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation(SWHC). President Obama as well as the Vice President are the best arms sales people the NRA could possibly imagine.

    The planned production of both companies is sold-out for the rest of the current year. Prices are also sharply increasing due to strong, perhaps even excessive demand.

    Kahuna, CFA

    Investment Professional

    1974 - Present

    Kailua-Kona 96745

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 9:11 AM, JoshPittyTheFool wrote:

    Buy buy buy ruger.... They make guns for responsible citizens and employee Americans!

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 10:43 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    Alyce wrote:

    “Still, I am a proponent of choice, and choosing to try to do what I believe is the right thing. I wouldn't choose to purchase shares of Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger, or Olin for my portfolio. As a socially responsible investor, I am not looking to profit from products that can and do facilitate peoples' violent acts against one another or even themselves.”

    I agree.

    Monday I am selling my Rawlings and Berkshire Hathaway. They or their subsidiaries sell and manufacture baseball bats. Bats kill and injure far more people than guns each year.

    Sky

    Socially Responsible Investor beginning Monday.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 11:30 AM, NickD wrote:

    If i can't get a gun I'll drive 5 mins to Camden NJ and get 1.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 1:04 PM, jonboy13 wrote:

    I completely agree with ibuildthings, gskinner, and Neal. However, I have saved my highest praise for Sky! The quote from ibuild here "Gun control involves the theory that the rights of handful of crazy people who would shoot up innocents outweigh the rights of the 310 Million other Americans and visitors who would never consider such an atrocity.", and Sky's great example about baseball bats would give a 'ban-guns nut' trouble finding fault. Amazingly enough, like fervent Catholics that argue dinosaur fossils are faked, gunphobics will undoubtedly manipulate the comments in order to make/fake their fanaticism sound correct. BTW, I am long SWHC.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2013, at 2:16 PM, DoctorLewis4 wrote:

    No one is talking about banning guns. Or going door to door to confiscate guns. The issue is assault rifles. I agree with General McChrystal.

    “I spent a career carrying typically either an M16 or an M4 Carbine. An M4 Carbine fires a .223 caliber round which is 5.56 mm at about 3000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed for that,” McChrystal explained. “That’s what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America.”

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 11:30 AM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    Yes, some are talking about banning guns. An assault rifle is a gun.

    The issue is mental health and its treatment. Not guns.

    Those using national tragedies like Sandy Hook elementary school to promote “gun control” should be ashamed of themselves, including McChrystal. McChrystal is probably one of the least qualified people I can think of to comment on domestic issues. He is career military. Two entirely different worlds.

    Yup. I am a Veteran, too.

    If you don’t feel citizens should own guns, fine. That’s your right. Push to change the constitution. Until then, the anti-gun crowd needs to be honest about their intentions. For the most part, they aren’t.

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 3:00 PM, ChanceEldrDancer wrote:

    "Sky's great example about baseball bats"

    Which is 100% false:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/baseballbats.asp

    Why make stuff up? There are serious arguments on both sides. The absurd -- franky, ludicrous -- and obviously incorrect baseball bat example just casts doubt on the honesty of pro-gun advocates.

    Sky, there is no Tooth Fairy, Bigfoot does not exist, and baseball bats do not kill more people than guns.

    But maybe you knew that . . .

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 3:19 PM, BMFPitt wrote:

    I prefer fiscally responsible investing. VICEX beat the pants off of KLD last year.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 5:07 PM, lanyib wrote:

    The idea that not investing in firearms manufacturers is somehow "socially responsible" is so idiotic it's laughable. Firearms are used by law abiding citizens each year in millions of cases against criminals to save lives. I suppose the socially responsible investor would rather see millions more brutalized, robbed, assaulted, and raped due to being defenseless. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...

    Firearms are especially essential for women and the elderly who would otherwise have little to know chance to stand up against thugs. It is the gun and nothing else that can immediately level the battlefield for a 95lbs lady against the prison hardened 235lbs rapist. So, to advocate against the companies who supply these very much needed defensive tools is the pinnacle of foolishness.

    On the other hand I couldn't care less if people who think like that choose to not make money. More profit for us rational people.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 6:31 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I must be the spawn of Satan. I've owned several "assault weapons" over the years. This will make the gun-leftard's heads explode- I had one with a 90 round drum magazine (what a pain to reload).

    How is this possible? I didn't go around killing kids in a school or something.

    If your own personal preference is not to invest with gun companies because of a perceived "social responsibility", fine. Just leave the rest of us alone.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 7:05 PM, chcmedia wrote:

    Guns are better in houses than portfolios. But as with any investment, due diligence must be exercised.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 8:31 PM, DoctorLewis4 wrote:

    Yes we need improved mental health treatment. But public efforts in this area have been gutted for years. Would you support a tax specifically for the treatment of the mentally ill in this country? Further, how do you propose that we force treatment on families who don't think their disturbed sons need it?

    Are you prepared to describe a system that provides a national data base of the "disturbed" who are banned from purchasing assault rifles? Under what criteria do we classify someone as unfit to purchase a high powered weapon? I don't have a moral problem with people owning gun stocks. I do have a moral issue with people who refuse to seek common sense approaches for assault weapons like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch supported in Australia.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2013, at 9:19 PM, NickD wrote:

    Women raising a boy without a Man bad idea

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 5:33 AM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @skypilot2005

    @jonboy13

    @TriangleAnomaly

    The 'more people are killed by baseball bats than by guns' statistic is wrong. The original stat that misquoted statement is based on, however, is correct. Which is:

    More people are murdered with blunt objects (which include, but are not limited to, baseball bats) than with assault rifles (which are the firearm type currently being considered for additional restrictions).

    Murders with shotguns would also be fewer than murders with blunt objects.

    And murders with knifes and other cutting

    instruments even higher than murders with shotgun, rifle or blunt instruments (actually higher than shotgun, rifle and blunt instruments combined).

    Murders with personal weapons (fist, feet, etc.) also are larger than murders with a rifle or shotgun (separately).

    It is murders with handguns that make up the vast majority of all murders with firearms (and the majority of murders overall).

    (These stats do not include murders with a non-categorized gun type.)

    2011 murders circumstances by weapon type (most first, least last):

    1. Handguns

    2. Knives or other cutting instruments

    3. Other guns or type not stated

    4. 'Other'

    5. Personal weapons

    6. Blunt objects

    7. Shotguns

    8. Rifles

    9. Asphyxiation

    10. Strangulation

    11. Fire

    12. Narcotics

    13. Drowning

    14. Explosives

    15. Poison

    16. Pushed or thrown out window

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 5:35 AM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    Opps, forgot to post my source. From the FBI:

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/c...

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 8:31 AM, midnighteye wrote:

    Investing is investing. "Socially responsible?" A term that rivals "Islamophobic" in its asininity. Shove it.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 9:21 AM, devoish wrote:

    Baseball bat vs guns will be a good argument when someone uses an assault weapon to hit home runs.

    Cars vs guns will be a good argument when someone rides an assault weapon to work.

    Until then, these items are not equivalent.

    "It also requires the acceptance that a woman found raped and strangled is morally superior to the woman explaining to the police why her attacker is now bleeding from a bullet wound."- ibuildthings

    I don't agree with that at all.

    Deciding whether to control guns and which guns to control requires deciding if women are better protected from rape by having a gun in her hands or keeping guns out of the hands of rapists.

    For example if you are using this argument to decide if assault weapons should be banned, it would help to know the number of times women have successfully defended themselves from rape with an assault weapon, and secondarily whether or not a rifle or handgun could have served the same purpose at that time.

    All this opens up a lot of questions.

    Are women going to the movies in Aurora Co with an assault weapon in order to protect themselves from rapists? And how many rapes has such behavior actually prevented?

    Once everybody gets assault weapons if two people walk into a movie theater in Aurora Co with assault weapons, which one is there to shoot and which one is there to stop the shooter?

    Because ultimately they are both actually there with the intention to shoot somebody.

    What if there is a third person armed with an assault rifle and they see the good guy shooter take out a gun and all well intentioned actually shoot the good guy before the good guy gets off a round and stops the bad guy?

    What if its stadium seating and a kids movie and the kids are stacked top and bottom? Should we not bring our kids to theaters that are comfortable and easy to see the screen from every seat because even a bad shot will hit somebody once they start spraying?

    Are all assault weapons owners such good shots they can keep all the rounds they fire at the bad guy concentrated on the bad guy and not hit people to his left or right, above or below?

    Can they stop shooting in time to not kill the bystander directly above and behind the bad guy? Its not like we are out in the woods here.

    Before your comments I thought that banning the sale of assault weapons and keeping them out of the hands of crazy people to begin with was the best solution, but now I see there is more to think about.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 1:29 PM, Acesnyper wrote:

    I know bashing guns is the cool thing of the week and the fool had to find a way to jump on the train before everyone forgets about the shootings when some celebrity sex tape becomes Americas biggest issue.

    I'm proud of my investments and dealings with Ruger, one of the best companies I've ever dealt with.

    Like guns or not the dealings i've had with them other companies should take note of. Now thats "SRI" investing in a company that takes care of their customers offers a good product at a fair price and has a talented respectful and quality workforce.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 1:48 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Devoish: Women won't use a so-called "assault weapon" to defend against rape in normal circumstances, but they also do not have the right to carry a pistol in many places. And once the "blame the gun" crowd gets that ball rolling, handguns are next. And keeping guns out of the hands of rapists to prevent rape is a pipe dream. First, rapists usually won't need them if they are larger and their target is female. Second, rape is already illegal, so how are gun laws going to stop a rape?

    Also, the Los Angeles "Rodney King" riots in 1992 are a prime example of the usefulness of assault weapons. People who had them used them to discourage gangs armed with guns and Molotov cocktails from attacking their homes and shops. Real live riots are up close and personal with people insane with violence. Those guns saved a lot of lives.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 1:55 PM, ibuildthings wrote:

    Keeping any kind of gun away from crazy people or people with criminal history are fine, as long as you are restricting the crazy people and criminals. But modern gun-blaming politicians find it easier to punish law abiding citizens by blaming guns, not the criminals and crazies. It is easier to do, because to really discuss the roots of violent behavior in people requires that you take political risks and show courage. Not much of that around.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2013, at 10:16 PM, devoish wrote:

    ibuildthings,

    Good stuff,

    What steps are you actually prepared to take to keep guns away from crazy people?

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2013, at 3:55 AM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    "Keeping any kind of gun away from crazy people or people with criminal history are fine, as long as you are restricting the crazy people and criminals. But modern gun-blaming politicians find it easier to punish law abiding citizens by blaming guns,"

    One can be law-abiding and still crazy.

    How do you define crazy?

    I would argue that putting assault rifles before human lives is crazy.

    Lest we forget, the people who are worked up over safer gun laws are the same people who threaten to kill people if anyone threatens to take away their machine guns: http://www.newser.com/story/160888/ceo-loses-gun-permit-over...

    That's crazy, but he's well within current law.

    I find that problematic.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2013, at 3:56 AM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    ^^ I should say he WAS within current law until he took to threatening people with guns in order to settle his disputes.

    That is an unhealthy obsession with guns, which I equate with craziness.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2013, at 3:03 PM, gttaylor55 wrote:

    Guns protect my portfolio, why not be in it. CA teachers made a bundle off Bushmaster, Obama tried to make a lot of political hay off Fast and Furious, WE may have to use our portfolios to protect our guns from Obama

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2013, at 3:42 PM, DJDynamicNC wrote:

    ^^^ Elections to decide who leads us. The American public overwhelmingly selected Democrats (even the House received more popular votes for Democrats than Republicans, though redistricting ensured they kept control over the actual seats).

    You are more than welcome to disagree with the policies espoused by one side or the other (or both). But the election is the heart of democracy, and the simple fact is that the people have spoken. We want a leader who will do something about guns, about poverty, about the environment. So we elected one.

    By a lot.

    And now we all have to live with the results, whether we voted for him personally or not.

    I strongly urge you to continue to be active politically within the framework of the Constitution and advocate for your own goals, even where they disagree with mine. That is how democracy is supposed to work.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2013, at 5:17 PM, devoish wrote:

    Deciding whether to control guns and which guns to control requires deciding if women are better protected from rape by having a gun in her hands or keeping guns out of the hands of rapists.

    For example if you are using this argument to decide if assault weapons should be banned, it would help to know the number of times women have successfully defended themselves from rape with an assault weapon, and secondarily whether or not a rifle or handgun could have served the same purpose at that time. - devoish

    2006 statistics on per capita forcible rape (excludes statutory rape) sorted by state and ranked from lowest to highest. I will not judge for you, which states have the most restrictive gun laws. You can do that, and see if there seems to be correlation.

    "Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one causes the other.

    Sometimes though, one variiable is the cause of the other.

    State Forcible 

    rape

    N.J. 14.2

    N.Y. 16.4

    Conn. 18.1

    Wis. 20.4

    Md. 21

    W. Va. 21.4

    Ga. 23.2

    Va. 23.4

    Vt. 24

    Calif. 25.3

    Maine 25.7

    N.H. 26.2

    R.I. 26.7

    Mass. 27.1

    Wyo. 27.2

    Pa. 27.3

    Hawaii 27.6

    Iowa 27.8

    N.C. 28.2

    Mont. 28.5

    Ind. 29.1

    Mo. 30.2

    N.D. 30.4

    Ky. 30.8

    Nebr. 31

    Ariz. 31.5

    DC 2 31.8

    Ill. 31.8

    Minn. 31.8

    Ore . 32.3

    Utah 34.1

    Miss. 34.4

    Tenn. 35.5

    Tex . 35.6

    Fla. 35.8

    Ala. 35.9

    La. 36.4

    Ohio 39.6

    Idaho 40

    S.C. 40.8

    Okla. 41.6

    Wash. 42.9

    S.D. 43

    Nev. 43.2

    Colo. 43.7

    Kans. 44.8

    Ark. 46.5

    Del. 46.9

    Mich. 52.2

    N.M. 56

    Alaska 76

    Read more: Crime Rate by State, 2006 — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004912.html#ixzz2I5HcYTkk

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    There are plenty of other companies to invest in besides the gun makers. I think you can make money elsewhere and avoid the politics.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2013, at 12:35 PM, 6sigmaford wrote:

    Once more into the fray. Guns are and should remain a choice. I admit owning full on military is a bit much, but that is already handled by existing laws. All sides are bending and contorting statistics to support their opinion.

    I presently do not own any firearms out of respect for my wife's wishes. However, I fully support others right to own,collect,cherish, and respect their firearms. The same is true with knives, chainsaws, swords, etc. All of which can kill or injure. Heck my silverware drawer is full of lethal potential if weilded by a crazy nut job.

    The recent events are sad and outrageous. Likewise, the same is true for the response from Washington. This country has coexisted with gun ownership since the beginning. There will be tragedies after the recent event regardless of the attempts to regulate and legislate. You cannot regulate or legislate crazy. The next time it may not be a gun, remember Oklahoma City?

    I support those that desire to own or do own firearms. Provided the owners are of sound mind and not bent on violence. If they are, I wish them a speedy and violent trip to the nether regions before they harm others.

    I have owned SWHC and now plan on building a position in RGR.

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2013, at 7:42 PM, Twake4d wrote:

    The writer may or may not own F yet Ford cars kill so many? There is no amendment to insure ownership of them. However this country was designed with firearms in mind.

    George Washington shot a whole bunch of British men and so it was decided that being free required uninfringed ownership of arms by it citizens. Result was the greatest economy. This right carries responsibilities that were shirked by the mother of the recent shooter.

    Both your Ford and your Ruger are inanimate objects. Why ban ownership of either object?

    The Ford has no Amendment, yet Fords are involved in more deaths.

    The right to keep and drive cars shall not be infringed... sorry arms. George rode a horse to shoot British military police.

    Own either F or RGR as you would any other, although by Alyce's logic F kills more should be sold before RGR. :/

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2013, at 12:58 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    Thanks for the robust conversation, everyone. I agree with many of the thoughts... for example, I would be the first to admit that I know some very responsible gun owners and some people who have problems who I wouldn't trust running around the streets with a spork much less a firearm.

    Still, no guns/weapons manufacturers will go into my portfolio. Like poinke said, I am trying to direct my investing into more positive channels. I have enjoyed this discussion and am not necessarily advocating bans, obviously, but rather the conscious choice not to invest in the industry.

    Thanks for all the thoughts, rebuttals, stats shared here. There have been a lot of very good thoughts here. Discussion makes for better decisions and I have enjoyed thinking about many of the arguments on this topic posted here.

    Best,

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2013, at 2:06 PM, bigguns347 wrote:

    I think if you are going to use this same logic then you need to be selling Activision Blizzard. Millions upon millons of kids and young adults play these violent games for hours on end and think its cool to kill as many people as possible. There is no way to prove it but I think there is a strong correlateion between these sad massacres and the young people who commited them and the video games they played.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2013, at 3:09 PM, 3l1ngeniero wrote:

    What we've got here is a perfect storm. As long as we don't address our national cultural obsession with violence, ignore/stigmatize the mentally unhealthy

    and put wholesale murder within easy reach of anyone, we'll have our Columbines, Auroras and Sandy Hooks.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2013, at 5:41 PM, rse0506 wrote:

    Guns and baseball bats in fact kill the precise, exact same number of people per year. .... Zero.

    The analysis for those wielding them, of course, differs.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2013, at 11:34 PM, ortho1g wrote:

    ive got guns in my portfolio, guns in my house and even one in the truck

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 12:06 PM, Cheesehead wrote:

    While I am no fan of gun companies and this story is from a column on environmental, social and governance issues, I’m still disappointed in Motley Fool for providing such an emotional and slanted point if view on investing in gun related stocks instead of providing an unbiased look. Where is the discussion on the effects of the proposed gun control actions on these stocks? Where is the discussion on the effects of the recent surge of gun related sales on these stocks? Where is the opposing point of view? What is presented is a one sided commentary with a recommendation based on emotion. Something the Motley Fool repeatedly urges us not to do…base our decisions on emotions! Such a sensitive topic would be better presented in some kind of pro and con story format to help provide a more balance, objective, and unemotional analysis.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2013, at 2:37 PM, deedee531 wrote:

    Alyce,

    Quit being such a girl. I am a girl and I own guns, some inherited, others gifts from my husband. I actually shoot them too. The horror. So far, haven't aimed them at another human being because I am not a nutcase. I do not have any gun stocks in my portfolio only because I felt I was a little late to the party. Amen to being socially responsible by being responsible for your own actions and investing wisely. I obviously should have added them 4 years ago. Guns are not inherently bad, some people are.

    Cheers to our founding fathers and the second amendment for recognizing that fact.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 2:37 PM, devoish wrote:

    A baseball bat whacks baseballs. A hammer builds houses, a car tranports people and stuff.

    A automatic rifle does nothing but kill people.

    Maybe that does make it "inherently bad", even in the hands of the military.

    I checked news stories about baseball bat murders. Nobody got close to killing 27 at a time.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 5:54 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I wish people that pontificated about "assault rifles" knew the difference between automatic rifles and semi-automatic rifles.

    I wish that some like devoish knew that most who own guns like this only use them at the range to punch holes in paper targets.

    I never considered my guns as being for personal defense, and I have never cared for hunting much, Target shooting was a thing I loved, but my real fascination was just in the mechanics of the gun.

    deedee531 said she owns several guns and shoots them sometimes. She may have some for personal defense, but as some here fail to grasp, just shooting them can be fun.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 6:00 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    Oh, I forgot. Statements like those of devoish make me think I should accumulate weapons and ammo for the "zombie apocalypse", lol.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 7:57 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    deedee531,

    the horror, reminded me of a sequence in the movie "apocalypse now". the horror: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDK9MDklzFo.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:01 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government"

    -- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

    Sky

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:05 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:06 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms."

    -- Constitutional scholar Joseph Story, 1840

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:08 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "Taking my gun away because I might shoot someone is like cutting my tongue out because I might yell `Fire!' in a crowded theater."

    -- Peter Venetoklis

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:10 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom."

    -- John F. Kennedy

    The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."

    -- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story of the John Marshall Court

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2013, at 10:21 PM, Tsinky wrote:

    The myths and outright lies from the pro-gun folks, and the focus on mental health by people on both sides, overlook the real problem, which this thread has brought into sharp relief: America's bizarre cultural obsession with firearms. Until and unless society addresses that, mentally ill people will continue to kill random people for no apparent reason, idiots will continue to shoot each other and themselves, jilted men will continue to murder their exes, etc., etc., simply because of the sheer volume of firearms available in the U.S.

    As to what we are supposed to discuss on this thread: The best time to have invested in weapons manufacturers would have been four years ago, when middle-aged white men consumed with race hate started stockpiling firearms in massive quantities. Sturm, Ruger is almost a 10-bagger since November 2008, and Smith & Wesson is nearly six times higher in that span. The institutional investors that sold off their weapons-related holdings may have created a buying opportunity, although both the above stocks have bounced back somewhat. SWHC is still attractively priced.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:24 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I am tired of the anti-gun hate. do you know how stupid you sound when you say things like when middle-aged white men consumed with "race hate started stockpiling firearms in massive quantities."

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:01 PM, devoish wrote:

    There are people who appreciate guns as machinery. But I'd say every pro-gun comment on this thread is except Deedee is from someone who is thinking about who they want to shoot. ie a rapist, looter, or elected representative.

    NOtvuffett, It is ok to be tired of the anti-gun hate, just as I'm tired of the dead children.

    Your side organised "gun appreciation day" and the youngest shooting victim that day was 5 yrs old.

    Kind of like murdering a rapist because the little girl might grow a dick, or cutting out a tongue because it might yell fire.

    I want you to keep the guns, please help stop the shootings.

    Best wishes,

    Steven

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 5:39 PM, barmansantosa wrote:

    Is this a discussion on gun ban or a discussion on whether investing in gun companies is bad or not.

    Devoish, we understand you're a gun control advocate. Enough of that. You'll never convince the rest of us who are gun supporters. Leave your argument for gun control in the right venue and explain to us why you don't think investing in gun companies will make money going forward. Historically, they have been good for us investors and news suggest that there is a huge increase in demand for guns.

    We join Motley Fool to make money, not to fight other investors because of our differences in politics.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2013, at 8:40 PM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    barmansantosa,

    thanks for getting us back on track. yes, this is an investment website, not a political forum. if i got too worked up about this topic, please forgive me.

    slightly over a month ago, i looked into rgr and because of the expected knee-jerk reaction over the tragedy with the school shooting, and their product lines and reputation.

    i told my friends, buy, buy, buy! like cramer does on his show. it is hard not to give investment advice to friends, after all you want them to get richer too right? the bad thing about giving them advice is you can give them 10 winners and 1 loser and they only remember the loser.

    another thing is, you don't know if they can budget their money. if i tell them to buy xyz, will they dump in their life savings plus open a margin account?, lol.

    these companies have had a great run, but I don't see lots of upside to them now.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 6:54 AM, devoish wrote:

    Thanks, barmansantosa,

    That is pretty opportunistic investing even if it is not long term. What would you buy before the next killing? Do you think if there is another mass killing soon more people will have a chance to make money on the political hay that gets raised, and how much further up the gun companys might run?

    On the other side of the coin, typically, how long does it take between "news worthy" mass killing to let the price drop to a buying point, and how much lower will these companies have to fall before you see upside again?

    Best wishes,

    Steven

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