The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday called for the city's three pension systems to divest of investments in companies that produce or profit from the sale of assault weapons and ammunition.
The 12-0 vote on the proposal from Councilwoman Jan Perry comes in response to the shootings in Newtown, Conn. It was a nonbinding request from the council, but the city's three pension systems said they are studying the issue.
But the proposal turns out to be more complicated than looking at pulling back just from gun makers. It will also involve the city's investments in mutual funds that own stock in weapons companies and retailers such as WalMart, Krogers, Dick's Sporting Goods and Big 5 that sell firearms along with their other items.
In just the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System alone, the investment in gun manufacturers and ammunition companies is about $6.9 million. But the investment in retailers - primarily through mutual funds - is more than $150 million.
"I think we need to include everyone in this," said Perry, who is running for mayor. "If we are going to send a message, it has to be inclusive of everyone. Everyone has to pull back."
The city's two other pension funds, Police and Fire and Water and Power, are still studying the extent of their investments and are scheduled to consider divestment in the coming weeks.
"I expected to find something, but this is much larger than I anticipated," Perry said.