Oakland, With No Investment In Gun Companies, Looks To Keep It That Way

OAKLAND | It is virtually impossible to legally buy a gun Oakland, but that has not stopped them from becoming a scourge on the community. Next week, the Oakland City Council will take steps to avoid unwittingly aiding Big Guns’ immense Washington lobby.

The Finance and Management Committee Wednesday unanimously approved placing legislation on next Tuesday’s City Council agenda that prohibit city investment in firearms manufacturers.

The move follows a directive by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer last December asking various state agencies to divest themselves of interests in gun-producing companies. The call by Lockyer came in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn. shooting that killed 20 school children and 6 adults. The California Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) quickly moved to sell off interest in the private equity firm whose holdings include the gun manufacturer that produces the semi-automatic weapon used the by Newtown shooter.

Oakland and the Port, however, do not currently have any financial interests in firearms manufacturers, according to the city treasurer’s office. In fact, with talk of gun violence percolating around just about every discussion within Oakland, it seems city leaders want nothing to do with gun makers.

“Oakland has no gun stores and Oakland has no gun manufacturers,” said Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan during Wednesday’s committee meeting. “That means every single gun used to commit a crime in Oakland came from outside of Oakland.”

Kaplan says financially aiding gun manufacturers is counterproductive to the city’s goal of safer streets. “If we put our money into gun manufacturers, we are paying for the money that is used to pressure Congress to do things that cause death in Oakland,” added Kaplan, specifically allowing gun sales in other parts of the country without background checks.

The legislation, sponsored by Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker and Councilmembers Larry Reid and Kaplan also encourages the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) and its $470 million to follow the city’s lead, along with the much smaller Oakland Municipal Retirement System Board and its $4.4 million fund.

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