* The TRS board isn’t scheduled to meet again until February, but staff is taking a look at its investments in gun manufacturers…
Illinois’ largest pension fund is gathering information about investments it might have in gun manufacturers in the event the system’s trustees want to re-evaluate those investments.
The Teachers’ Retirement System took the action after last week’s mass shooting at a school in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System said Monday it is reviewing its investments in a private equity firm that, in turn, owns the company that manufactured the rifle used in the shootings.
“We are going to be gathering information about whether any TRS assets are invested with gun manufacturers, in the event that the board of trustees decides to re-evaluate any investments in the portfolio,” said TRS spokesman Dave Urbanek. “With a $37 billion portfolio, it takes some time to go through the layers of business transactions and the depths of corporate ownership to get to what might be there.”
* The California move could cause a decline in some gunmaker stocks, but not everybody is convinced…
With this recent tragedy, gun sales are up, Ruger and Smith and Wesson shares are down. That is a typical short-term market reaction that represents a buying opportunity. Ruger is not likely to have a major revenue decline even if there is a return of an assault weapon ban and high capacity magazine ban. In California, if anything, Ruger benefited from the nation’s tightest assault weapon ban. Ruger’s equivalent .223 caliber rifles, with wood stocks lacking pistol grips, remained on the market, albeit with 10 round magazines. Ruger does have a gas piston AR15 type rifle priced at the high end of the AR15 market, so a decline in sales or loss in sales of this rifle are unlikely to have a major impact on Ruger’s bottom line.
* And Illinois is in the top tier on background checks this year…
The [FBI] reported more than 16.8 million background checks by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System through the first 11 months of 2012, already the highest total for any year since the system was introduced in late 1998 — and nearly double the total from a decade ago even without data from December. Among states, the number of checks performed so far this year is highest for Kentucky (2,329,151), Texas (1,196,176), California (981,798), Illinois (923,920) and Pennsylvania (835,293).
As mandated by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, a background check is required in order to buy any firearm at retail. The background checks don’t necessarily correlate to the number of guns actually sold as buyers might have changed their minds about their purchase, or might have bought multiple weapons.
* Sales are soaring and prices are rising…
With President Barack Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay (EBAY) and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) locations. […]
On EBay Inc.’s auction website, shoppers have recently bid up gun magazines. The current bid for four Glock handgun magazines, ammunition for one of the guns used at Newtown, is $118.37 compared with $45 on the day before the shooting. The bid for seven Glock magazines hit $201 on Dec. 17 from $71.01 before the massacre.
* Nate Silver looks at demographics…
Gun ownership has declined over the past 40 years — but almost all of the decrease has come from Democrats. By 2010, according to the General Social Survey, the gun ownership rate among adults that identified as Democrats had fallen to 22 percent. It remained at about 50 percent among Republican adults. […]
White voters were substantially more likely to own guns than Hispanics or blacks. But white Republicans were more likely to own guns than white Democrats.
And based on demographic inertia, the differences seem likely to grow over time.
About 35 percent of Democratic voters age 65 and older reported having a gun in their home, against about 25 percent of those ages 18 to 29. But gun ownership rates bore little relationship to age among Republican voters, and were constant at about 55 percent among all age groups. That might suggest that gun ownership will continue to decline among Democrats while holding steady among Republicans, further increasing the partisan gap.
Gun ownership rates are highest in rural areas, where guns are more likely to be used for hunting as well as personal protection. A slight majority of Democratic voters in rural areas said they had a gun in their home, according to the survey, although the rate was somewhat higher, 65 percent, among rural Republicans.
In urban areas, 40 percent of Republican voters said they had a gun in their home, while 20 percent of Democrats did.
The differences are most apparent in suburban areas. There, 58 percent of Republican voters said there was a gun in their household, against just 27 percent of Democrats.
* A good friend of mine has a son with Asperger’s, and that kid is now having problems with other kids at school because of the Connecticut shooting. So, this was a welcome piece…
Critics, though, say that if you want to understand how such a statement might be taken, try this hypothetical substitution: “Law enforcement officials said they were closely examining whether Mr. Lanza is gay.” There is, for a reasonable person, the suggestion of cause and effect. It is very unlikely that that sentence would have appeared in The Times without further explanation.
* Meanwhile, back when Rahm Emanuel was running the DCCC, he was infamous for recruiting conservative, often very pro-gun Democratic candidates. In other words, he helped create the gridlock over the federal assault weapons ban. When he became President Obama’s chief of staff, he deliberately put an assault weapons ban on the back burner. As Ted McClelland notes, “the anti-gun Brady Campaign gave Obama an F during his first year in office.” Sun-Times…
Author Daniel Klaidman wrote in his book “Kill or Capture” that after Holder said he would push for the ban, “Emanuel was furious. He slammed his desk and cursed the attorney general. Holder was only repeating a position Obama had expressed during the campaign, but that was before the White House needed the backing of pro-gun Democrats from red states for their domestic agenda. The chief of staff sent word to Justice that Holder needed to ‘shut the —- up’ on guns . . .
* But now, Emanuel is demanding an assault weapons ban. Maybe it’s because he’s mayor of a city with way too many gun-related murders. But as we’ve discussed before, the assault weapons issue has become standard Democratic schtick every time something bad happens.
* Earlier this week, CBS This Morning pressed Emanuel on his record. He mostly filibustered…
O’DONNELL: And that you went – and said – the chief of staff sent word to Justice that Holder needed to shut up on guns.
EMANUEL: (unintelligible) Let me say this, Norah: President Obama always stood for getting this done – number one. Number two, I passed the Brady Bill, the assault weapon ban. It is very, very important that we do that. The fact is, in 2009, the President and the entire government was very clear to say this, as the attorney general knows, in getting all the President’s legislation done and working with Congress to do that.
O’DONNELL: But I want you to explain that, because, were you worried about the political backlash of taking on and pushing for the assault weapons ban? Why didn’t – why didn’t Obama do that?
EMANUEL: No, because, first of all, the President’s record is very, very clear on this. It’s clear when he was a state senator. It was clear when he was also a U.S. senator. It was clear also as a President, and he was dealing as you well know with a myriad of issues. And he was pushing very hard and making sure, also, that we had the funding to do everything we needed to do in the Justice Department.
O’DONNELL: But the Brady campaign, I mean, in the first year, gave Obama an ‘F’ - an ‘F’!
EMANUEL: Yeah, well, you know – yeah, but-
O’DONNELL: You know? And there was a report in The New York Times on Sunday that after the Aurora shooting, that the Justice Department – I know you weren’t at the White House then - but that the Justice Department went to the White House with ways to expand the background check system, in order to reduce the risk of guns falling in the hands of mentally ill people, and there was a decision made not to go that far. What I guess I’m trying to ask is not assign blame, but politically, how hard is it to take on the NRA?
EMANUEL: First of all, having fought to pass the Brady Bill and the assault weapon ban, the last time we really had gun control, it is very hard. That’s why what you have to focus on is criminal access and the type of guns and make it a law enforcement issue. When I worked for President Clinton, we had all the police chiefs in D.C., and that’s why I also think now the proximity to the vote is very, very important. I think it’s essential to have a vote of conscience - put it up, people notice what happened here – number one. Number two is – it has to be about people – the type of criminal access to the type of gun, which is why you showed earlier the type of gun, because I think when people see that, it’s clear that gun is not for the streets. It’s not for sports. It’s really a gun of war.
Video is here.
* Teachers union rips idea of arming teachers: “It’s ridiculous to think bringing guns into a school or classroom would somehow make that area safer,” said Charlie McBarron, a spokesman for the Illinois Education Association. “It’s hard to understand how a sane person could make that serious suggestion.”
* Chart Of The Day: At least according to Google’s search stats, Friday’s shooting is clearly making an impact