Are You Unintentionally Investing in Gun Manufacturers?

A country music festival in Las Vegas; the Pulse night club in Orlando; Sandy Hook Elementary School; a theater in Aurora, Colorado; Virginia Tech…the list of lives lost senselessly to gun violence in the United States is a long one. In addition to the prominent cases that make national news, there are the daily deaths from gun violence that tear families and communities apart.

Many Americans believe our nation needs to adopt effective gun control policy to stem the tide of violence we increasingly see in our society. In addition to advocating with policy makers at all levels of government, we can also use our economic power as investors to withdraw support from gun manufacturers.

The first step is to know what investments you own. Have you reviewed the holdings of any mutual funds in which you invest?

Unless you are investing in a socially responsible mutual fund, you might be investing in gun manufacturers and other industries you have no desire to support and prosper from. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing maintains a chart of socially and environmentally mutual funds, including financial performance data as well as identification of the issues on which the funds are screened. You can find funds that are screened to exclude certain industries, in whole or in part, such as weapons manufacturers and the military; fossil fuels; tobacco; toxic products and more.

In growing numbers, investors large and small are aligning their investments with their values and their goals for our society. This approach to investing, one that integrates social and environmental factors alongside financial analysis, has a key role in building the green economy. Our investments are not just tools to create our own wealth, but a reflection of the kind of economy and society we want to support.

Socially responsible investing (SRI) now totals more than $8.7 trillion in the United States and is expected to continue to grow. You can become part of this movement by using SRI products and services. At www.greenpages.org you’ll find SRI-dedicated financial planners, community development and green banks and credit unions, and mutual funds like Access Capital Community Investment Funds, Azzad funds, CRA Qualified Investment Fund, Domini funds, Green Century Funds, Neuberger Berman Socially Responsive Funds, Pax funds, and others that exclude investment in weapons and the military.

Become a socially responsible investor today — people and the planet depend on it.

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