By Russ Thurman
I’m sure you read with interest the demands by New York City’s public advocate that U.S. automakers inform investors of the number of times their products are used in the commission of crimes. If you missed that story, I’m sure you caught the same demand of cellphone companies: That they fully disclose to investors what is being done to keep cellphones out of the hands of criminals and terrorists.
Oh, you didn’t see those stories? Hmmmm. Me, either.
But such demands are sure to be announced soon based on the actions of Letitia James, New York City public advocate. Well, not likely, since they don’t involve attacking the firearms industry.
In Dec. 2015, James called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate Smith & Wesson. James contends the company failed to “disclose material information that would enable its shareholders to assess the risk environment in which the company operates.”
“Congress has failed over and over again when it comes to sensible gun control, and we must work around the D.C. dysfunction and take action,” James said in announcing her letter to the SEC. “We cannot let gun manufacturers get away with hiding the inherent risk associated with their industry. We will continue to do everything in our power to take on the scourge of gun violence and make our city and country a safer place.”
It’s important to note that James, as public advocate, holds New York City’s second highest-ranking elected office. Her anti-gun/anti-industry actions leave nothing to the imagination.
In the eight-page letter to the SEC, James outlined a number of demands “that the company has a duty to disclose”:
• “Information about the number of the company’s firearms that are involved each year in crimes.”
• “What steps the company has taken to minimize the risk that the company’s firearms will be used in crimes and mass shooting events.”
• “Whether the company has put in place measures that prevent its firearms from being distributed to ‘bad apple’ gun dealerships.”
In March, James set her sights on Ruger, sending virtually the same letter to the SEC, demanding an investigation.
“Gun manufacturers must come clean about the dangers posed by their business and the risks it represents for even their own shareholders. We can and will use every tool at our disposal to address the devastating impact of gun violence in our country,” James said in announcing the attack on Ruger.
To further her cause, James has sent letters to financial institutions, demanding they “terminate their backing of Smith & Wesson.” Also, James, as a trustee of the New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS), called on the five New York City pension boards to divest from firearm-related companies. James has the backing of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has called on the city’s major public pensions to “sell their holdings of assault weapon makers.”
So, what do we have here, beside an overabundance of hypocrisy? Abuse of power? Of course. The goal is to cripple industry companies; it’s the new normal: “We will continue to do everything in our power … We can and will use every tool at our disposal … .” Be assured, this isn’t just an attack on firearm manufacturers; it’s an attack on every industry-related company.
It’s also a snapshot — remarkably small in comparison — of what will happen at the highest level of government if Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton becomes the president. The damage will even be more devastating if the Republicans lose control of the Senate.
Most of us are already wornout with the national political campaign — and it’s only May! But, now is not the time to disengage. Yes, you know how you will vote in November, but do your customers, family, neighbors and friends? Those in the middle — and there are millions of them — will decide who’s the next president. Who are they listening to? Is it power-abusers like NYC’s public advocate and Hillary Clinton?
You — all of us in the industry — are key to letting those “in the middle” know where we stand and the truth about firearms and the industry.
It’s time to step forward.
To learn more about the issues and how best to prevent them, visit www.nssf.org/govrel.