In response to the State Investment Council’s decision to sell a $1.9 million stake in Vista Outdoor, a company that manufactures semi-automatic rifles, Senator Vin Gopal said the following:
“I am encouraged to see the State Investment Council has responded to our call for responsible investment practices and divested from a manufacturer of semi-automatic rifles," Senator Gopal said.
"We cannot stand by and let gun manufacturers that profit by producing weapons benefit from the investment of our pension funds. We must send a message that New Jersey makes conscious decisions about the type of companies the state should invest in.
"That is why I have sponsored legislation that would prohibit the state from investing assets of any pension or annuity fund in companies that manufacture firearms or ammunition and would require the fund to divest any existing holdings within two years.
With this bill, New Jersey makes a clear statement of our priorities. The State Investments Council has taken the first step in beginning to divest from gun manufacturers, but we must ensure this practice continues by signing this bill into law. New Jersey public tax dollars must not be used to support gun manufacturers."
The bill (S1976) prohibits the State of New Jersey from investing assets of any pension or annuity fund in companies that manufacture firearms or firearm ammunition. The State Investment Council and Director of the Division of Investment have up to two years to divest from any existing investments that are held in violation of this provision. The bill also requires the State Investment Council and the Director of the Division of Investment to submit an initial report on its prohibited investments and thereafter to submit annual reports on its progress towards compliance with the prohibition.