Is it the beginning of a trend?
Several news sources are reporting that Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm with a major interest in Bushmaster - the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR 15 semi-automatic rifle used in the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT - is pulling its investments in the company.
This decision should prompt more of us to examine who profits from what seems to be a wanton sale of automatic weapons in the US.
For Cerberus, money might be the motivator behind the decision as the company manages pensions for teachers and first responders. According to Bloomberg News California's State Treasurer urged the move:
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said he’ll propose that the state’s public pension funds, the two largest in the U.S., sell off investments in firearm manufacturers that make guns prohibited under state law.Cerberus released a statement as reported in the Huffington Post:
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said he’ll propose that the state’s public pension funds, the two largest in the U.S., sell off investments in firearm manufacturers that make guns prohibited under state law.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, known as Calstrs, with $155 billion of assets, has a stake in Cerberus Capital Management LP, a private equity firm that owns Freedom Group, the maker of the Bushmaster .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle that police said was the primary weapon in the Dec. 14 shootings that killed 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.
“It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level,” Cerberus asserted in its statement. “As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals. It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators. There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take.”In a separate story Bloomberg news reports that the decision to sell it's investments in the gun manufacturer might be more personal. Stephen Feinberg's father lives in Newtown, CT:
Martin Feinberg, whose son founded Cerberus Capital Management LP in 1992, is a resident of Liberty at Newtown, a community for people 55 and older that’s about 6 miles from Sandy Hook elementary school. Cerberus today announced it will sell Freedom Group, which makes the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that authorities said was used to kill 20 children between the ages of six and seven, as well as six adults at the school.If you have a pension, do you know where your money is invested? If not, now might be the time to check on your money; who is using it these days?
The shooting was “devastating,” Martin Feinberg said in a brief interview in the foyer of his building. “It’s horrendous, truly horrendous.”