Georgia teacher retirement fund has small investments in gun companies


The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia has investments in thousands of companies in its $76 billion portfolio, such as technology giants Amazon and Apple.

It also invests in businesses heavily involved in firearms sales and supplies such as Sturm Ruger & Co. and Vista Outdoor, about $6 million, Buster Evans, the system’s executive director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday.

Such investments are generating greater scrutiny in the wake of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Fla., that killed 14 students and three faculty members.

A bill was introduced Thursday in the New Jersey legislature to bar that state from investing any of its $78 billion government worker pension fund in gun or ammunition manufacturers, according to news accounts. The Florida Retirement System Pension Plan holds shares valued at $528,000 in American Outdoor Brands Co. which manufactured the AR-15 rifle believed to have been the weapon used in the killings, The Miami Herald reported. Pension funds managed for public school teachers in at least a dozen states own stocks issued by firearms companies, Bloomberg reported.

Evans said there’s not been any discussion about divesting from the two companies, describing the amount of money invested in comparison to the total fund as “little blips on the radar.”

Vista Outdoor sells .223-caliber ammunition, used in AR-15s. Ruger also makes an AR-15 style rifle.

Evans also said removing investments in such companies does not take into consideration the entire portfolio of a particular business. Evans noted Ruger makes handguns for law enforcement. Vista Outdoor also produces outdoor cooking products and cycling accessories.

“The reality is most multinational companies have a number of divisions,” he said.

The Georgia system is funded through a combination of contributions from employees and employers, such as school districts, public colleges, state agencies. The pensions that teachers and employees receive are based on the highest income they earned over a period of time and the years they worked.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Education

Children come in all colors. So should their books.
Children come in all colors. So should their books.

A graduate of Atlanta’s Lovett School and Dartmouth College, Kabir Sehgal is the author "Jazzocracy,” "Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us," and "Walk in My Shoes: Conversations Between a Civil Rights Legend and His Godson on the Journey Ahead" with Andrew Young. ...
Would merging U.S. education and labor agencies help or hurt?
Would merging U.S. education and labor agencies help or hurt?

Does a merger of the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor make sense or would it risk subjugating the needs of schools to the needs of industry? Cast as part of a larger government reorganization sought by the Trump White House, a merger would likely encounter congressional resistance. Past attempts to dissolve the education agency were rebuffed...
As property values rise, APS officials to recommend dropping tax rate
As property values rise, APS officials to recommend dropping tax rate

Atlanta Public Schools probably will drop the school property tax rate because the district now expects an even bigger increase in property values on which it collects taxes. Many Fulton County homeowners have seen big property value hikes this year after values were frozen last year at 2016 levels, and the jump means they’re bracing for tax...
Atlanta college getting accounting help amid staff vacancies
Atlanta college getting accounting help amid staff vacancies

Atlanta Metropolitan State College has been getting assistance in recent months from the University System of Georgia and another college to help manage its financial paperwork, officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A report last year by the state’s Department of Audits and Accounts found numerous problems, such as the inability...
Georgia teacher says HOPE, pre-k program helped her reach new heights
Georgia teacher says HOPE, pre-k program helped her reach new heights

Georgia high school social studies teacher Lindsay McMichael is a vocal proponent of the state’s HOPE Scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs for a good reason. She participated in both as a 4-year-old growing up in Columbus and as a student at the University of Georgia. McMichael was one of the speakers at a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate...
More Stories