If you were inspired by the young people leading marches against gun violence around the country on March 24th in the March for Our Lives and want to do something to have an impact, one action you can take is to make sure you don’t own any stocks of companies that manufacture guns in your portfolio. While many of the gun manufacturers are privately-held companies, there are three publicly-traded gun companies in the US. They are Vista Outdoor Inc (VSTO), Sturm, Ruger & Co Inc (RGR) and American Outdoor Brands Corp (AOBC). All three stocks are small-cap stocks, with market capitalizations of under $1 billion, so you’d want to research any small-cap mutual funds you own or total stock market funds. For example, VSTO and AOBC are both owned by the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund and RGR and AOBC are both owned by the Vanguard Small Cap Index. A good resource for this type of research is www.morningstar.com, a mutual fund and stock research website or you can ask your financial advisor.
While Sturm, Ruger and American Outdoor Brands focus primarily on firearms and related gear, Vista Outdoor also makes a variety of outdoor recreation equipment and owns brands such as Camelbak, Blackburn, Bell, Giro and other esteemed brands. So, a further step concerned people can take would be to stop purchasing products associated with any brand owned by Vista Outdoor. You’d be in good company as REI Co-op has stopped carrying these brands until the company addresses the demands for common-sense solutions to the gun violence plaguing our country. You can see all of Vista Outdoor’s brands here: https://vistaoutdoor.com/brands/.
We all decide how we engage in various political debates, be it gun violence, protecting the environment, discrimination or myriad other topics. We have many choices in how we align our values with our lives and money. For some people, signing petitions, attending marches or voting might be enough to express their opinions. For those who want more engagement, looking at what you own in your portfolio and the purchases you make are two more ways to be more aligned with your political beliefs and values.