By Bob Katzen

The Committee on Public Service held a hearing on a bill that would require the state’s $71.6 billion pension fund to divest itself of all companies that derive 15 percent or more of their income from selling firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition.

“These companies have not shown a willingness to work with shareholders to address the safety of their products,” said state Treasurer Deb Goldberg whose office oversees the fund. “In the wake of the horrific mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, I was inspired by the brave students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and moved to act on gun violence prevention here in Massachusetts.”

“I hope this bill will be enacted, to demonstrate that Massachusetts is committed to doing all we can to stop gun violence,” said Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton), the sponsor of the Senate bill. “Manufacturing assault weapons for sale to the general public is not something our state should be investing its pension funds in.”

Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), the House sponsor, said that the Legislature has demonstrated a seriousness about gun violence and that Massachusetts now has the strictest gun laws in the nation. “That seriousness is undermined when we invest our public pension fund in companies that profit from gun violence,” said Ehrlich. “We should not be protecting residents of the state with one hand and enabling gun manufacturers and retailers with the other. It is both inconsistent and counterproductive.”

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