we do something different. This diary is about what I did today. I want the gun manufacturers that fund the NRA and the NRA to understand that this time is different. One route anyone can take is to look at the gun manufacturers, and people associated with them. There's a wealth of information on public companies at the SEC, and I found out that the CFO of a company whose lacrosse sticks my son has used is on the board of Sturm, Ruger and Company, which my friend google showed me is a huge supporter of the NRA. So I wrote the letter below. It scares me a little bit, but I have to do something and this is something I could do. I'm not encouraging others to do this, but I hope we each can think about what we can do.
See the letter below the squiggle
c/o Bauer Performance Sports Ltd.
100 Domain Drive
Exeter, NH 03833
December 18, 2012
Dear Mr. McDonnell,
I am writing to you in your role as Chairman of the board at Bauer. I have two sons who are athletes, which is why I’m familiar with your company. My oldest son is 12 and has played lacrosse, soccer, basketball, and baseball; and his brother shows every inclination of following in his footsteps.
Like so many parents in America I was terribly shaken by the tragedy in Connecticut last week. Personally, I believe that weapons that should not be widely accessible are easily available because the NRA has essentially censored any reasonable conversation on gun control. The gun companies have promoted the idea that individuals need more and better weapons. Perhaps Nancy Lanza thought guns could make her safe, and that there was a responsible way to own semi-automatic weapons.
What does that have to do with Bauer performance sports? I have some experience in the corporate governance world. This week I became curious about who served on the boards of the largest gun companies. I was surprised to see that Amir Rosenthal, your CFO, also serves on the board of Sturm, Ruger & Company (RGR), a company that has actively supported the NRA.
To my mind, to have someone employed by a sports equipment company serve on the board of a manufacturer of semi-automatic weapons is like a member a CFO of a health food company serving on the board of a tobacco company. In his role as a member of the Risk Oversight Committee at RGR, I wonder if Mr. Rosenthal is considering the “risk” of increased gun control following the shooting of children in Connecticut. It certainly may harm the shareholders of RGR if restrictions are imposed, but I do not believe that should be the risk primary in Rosenthal’s mind. I’d like him to focus on Bauer.
There is very real reputational risk for Bauer involved with Mr. Rosenthal’s role at RGR. As you know, it is entirely appropriate and quite common for boards to place limits on executive’s service on other boards. I would encourage you, both for the sake of your own company and for larger reasons, to reevaluate your current policy on outside board membership. Thank you for your consideration to this matter.