Gun control advocates try to pressure gun makers through making people divest from them and generally make it so that they can't do business
. . . Proponents of sensible gun control are increasingly turning to the approach used to such effect against apartheid South Africa and the tobacco industry and more recently also deployed against the fossil fuel industry. They are trying to force change by pressuring gun manufacturers themselves and, more specifically, the people, firms and institutions that invest in them. This shift is out of recognition that the manufacturers not only profit from the spread of firearms but have become increasingly central to the National Rifle Association and other groups that fight new gun regulations.
The first target of the main pro-divestment group, Campaign to Unload, is Cerberus Capital Management, the private-equity firm that owns the Freedom Group, the big gun conglomerate that makes, among many other brands, the Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle that Adam Lanza used to gun down 20 children and six educators in Newtown (The company is also known as Remington Outdoor Company). Campaign to Unload held an inter-faith protest outside Cerberus’ headquarters on Monday and plans much more in the weeks ahead. “When the political process becomes stalled, stigmatizing the industry helps loosen up the process,” said Jennifer Fiore, a Washington, D.C. resident who recently joined Campaign to Unload after helping lead Moms Demand Action, a nationwide group that sprang up after the Newtown shootings and now counts more than 120,000 members online. “Manufacturers are part of the problem, part of the reason why legislation has stalled, and we’d like to see the manufacturers and industry as a whole embrace what the public would like to see.” . . .
It sure looks as if the divestment campaign’s initial goal—to, as Fiore put it, make Freedom Group a “hot potato”—is working. . . .This is only part of the problem. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put political pressure on banks to stop doing business with firearms manufacturers.
There are other boycotts that have taken place:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which organized a successful campaign this summer to pressure Starbucks into banning guns from its cafes, is preparing a similar effort aimed at McDonald’s, founder Shannon Watts told POLITICO.
It’s part of the larger political shift from gun control advocacy groups, and the recognition that like much of Obama’s second term agenda, gun control is buried under the reality of a divided Congress. . . .