The victory is significant in holding gun manufacturers responsible for the risks associated with their products.
The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary along with others from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility have won another victory against gun violence. Recent reports indicate that the group won a resolution at American Outdoor Brand’s recent annual shareholder meeting. This resolution requires the parent company to report on its brands and the steps they are taking towards the prevention of gun violence. The victory is significant because it requires Smith and Wesson to create an annual report. In the report, the company has to address whether or not it has done enough to show the risks of owning a gun.
This was not the group’s first foray into creating a means of holding gun producers accountable. Sturm Ruger, another large manufacturer, had a similar resolution approved after it was introduced by Sister Judy Brown. It appears as though the concerns of the shareholders are beginning to override the desire to make money in light of the vast mass shootings that have already occurred.
However, that does not mean gun manufacturers are willingly accepting all of the proposals coming from religious groups. In fact, the CEO of American Outdoor Brands, James Denney, said he was disappointed in the “politically motivated” resolutions, believing they are a sign of outside interference. In his opinion, and that of others, the focus should be on the laws rather than the manufacturers.
Based on the speech by Sister Judy Brown who presented this resolution, the acceptance of these measures should prove to be helpful to companies instead of a bane. This is due to the fact that they could prevent boycotts and poor sales if the company stands by and does nothing while people are killed using company products.
Sturm Ruger’s CEO Chris Killroy had a much more accepting view of the entire process, saying the report was the easiest compromise they could make. He said “The proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report. That’s it. A report. What the proposal does not, and cannot, do is to force us to change our business.”
With many more religious groups taking the fight against gun violence to companies in a direct fashion, it is certain more will join the battle. Right now, nearly a dozen religious organizations are poised to prepare for the next attempt to open a dialogue with gun companies.