Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 41 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

The Next Installment Of The War Between Amalgamated Bank And Ruger

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 7 months ago

CNBC:

Another community group, Majority Action, is organizing retail investors to push big fund companies like BlackRock and Vanguard, Sturm Ruger’s biggest shareholders, to assert their voting power. The group organized about six weeks ago, seeing now as a crucial moment for changing the gun industry.

“We were looking at how you enable everyday investors to access the levers of power when it comes to holding companies accountable,” said James Rucker, its co-founder, who is on the board of directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

But even before these recent demands, controversy was certain to erupt at Sturm Ruger’s meeting, scheduled to take place May 9 at a resort in Arizona thousands of miles from its Connecticut headquarters. The company has a factory in the area.

Wednesday’s vote will be the first test this year of a proposal by a faith-based shareholder group urging the nation’s gun industry to act after recent extreme examples of gun violence.

Specifically, that proposal, backed by the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, asks gun makers like Sturm Ruger to prepare a report about the financial and reputational risks associated with their business. The coalition plans to introduce a similar proposal on the proxy of American Outdoor Brands, which typically holds its meetings in the fall.

Two major shareholder voting advisory firms, Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis, have thrown their support behind the coalition’s proposal, Sturm Ruger’s board, on the other hand, is advising shareholders to vote against it. “We believe that firearms safety is a laudable and appropriate goal,” it said in the proxy. “However, we also believe that adequate safety practices and procedures are available.”

BlackRock said in a note to clients in March that it is time to take action on gun violence, adding it could use its position as a large shareholder to vote against boards and management and back shareholder proposals management doesn’t like. But it won’t comment about how it plans to vote its 2.8 million shares next week.

Several companies connected to the gun industry have changed their policies in recent weeks in response to the upswell of protests after a shooting in a Florida high school in February left 17 people dead. Major retailers such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods put limits on gun sales, and banks like Citigroup said it would restrict gun sales by business partners.

Fund managers like BlackRock and State Street said they would start a dialogue with gun makers about what they are doing to promote safety. BlackRock has even rolled out new funds that specifically remove stocks of gun makers and sellers.

Amalgamated wants the gun maker to publicly endorse universal background checks, funding for government to to crack down on illegal distribution, and funding for government research into gun safety and public health. They also want a commitment to responsible distribution contracts, monitoring of distribution chains and investments in gun safety technology and commercialization.

Froman, 68, is a lawyer and long-time gun industry supporter. The Southern Poverty Law Center found her name in a 2014 member directory of a secretive ultra-conservative group called the Council for National Policy. Tax forms from 2015 and 2016 filed by that organization list her as treasurer.

The year she became president of the NRA, the gun lobby won a crucial legal battle in the form of a new law limiting liability claims against gun makers. That same year, a donor program for the NRA launched and, as reported by Bloomberg in 2012, took in nearly $15 million from gun-related companies.

Froman has pointed to Smith & Wesson’s decision in 2000 to voluntarily comply with certain gun safety measures as its downfall. Grassroots gun supporters forced the company into bankruptcy after it made that “deal with the devil,” she has said.

“The grass roots is a powerful force that the government can’t control and can’t fight,” she said in a speech in 2011 to a group that supports knife ownership. “Just look at what’s happened with the rise of the Tea Party movement. Most of the battles that NRA has won have been won by sheer political power.”

Oh, okay.  Things make a little more sense now.  The Southern Preposterous Lie Center is after her, and for very good reason.  She believes that S&W made a “deal with the devil.”  Because they did, and she’s right.  She stands in the way of forcing Ruger to make that same sort of deal, although to be quite honest, I think the other board members as well as 100% of Ruger employees see things the same way she does.

The article is lacking in detail just like all preceding articles on this – we still don’t learn the relative shareholding power of these gun controller forces within Ruger stock.  But it sure will be interesting to follow this through and see how well or poorly the controllers do with this effort.

Prior: Amalgamated Bank Pressures Ruger To Support Gun Control Measures

Amalgamated Bank Pressures Ruger To Support Gun Control Measures

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 7 months ago

It was just two weeks ago I wrote this.

Suppose that Ruger needs to spend $500,000 buying to tooling to replace old and worn tooling machinery, or to retool a line to fabricate a new product.  Suppose that none of the banks will do business with Ruger.  How does Ruger pay for the tooling machinery?  They can’t go through the bank.  They can’t hand cash to the machinery manufacturer – their accountant would reject it as making them look like they’re doing business with Iran.  No bank in their right mind will allow a company to deposit $500,000 cash without knowing where it came from.

This could all happen to Ruger without a new law being passed, since CEOs can do what they want, and corporations are in the main controlled by progressives and lawyers.

Apparently it’s worse than that.  From USA Today:

Amalgamated Bank, a New York-bank with $48 billion in institutional investment assets that emphasizes socially responsible practices, sent a letter Thursday to Sturm, Ruger & Company’s board, demanding that it adopt six reforms or it would not support the re-election of one of the gun maker’s board members, Sandra Froman, who is also an NRA board member.

The bank claims that Froman’s and the company’s “close relationship” to the NRA pose a conflict of interest that “may inhibit objective assessment and management risks Sturm, Ruger faces.”

[ … ]

In a letter to Sturm, Ruger’s board, Amalgamated’s CEO Keith Mestrich pressed the gun maker to commit to steps that address risks to its business and stock performance, which Mestrich claims has posted returns trailing the broad S&P 500 stock index over the past five years.

On the policy front, for example, the bank called on the gun manufacturer to publicly endorse mandatory background checks for all gun purchases and support the full funding of the federal agency that enforces gun laws.

Amalgamated’s top executive also wants Sturm, Ruger to take steps to monitor gun sellers to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands and to emphasize “product safety innovation.”

All six reforms are recommended by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit group focused on curbing gun violence.

Get the NRA board member off the Ruger board.  But that’s not all.  Read carefully.  The bank wants Ruger to support so-called “smart guns.”  If Ruger did this it would be the end of the business.  They know it, and surely the bank knows it.  They couldn’t shutter their doors fast enough to prevent looters from stealing what’s left because they couldn’t pay anyone to be at the plants.

This is a poorly written article because the author doesn’t explain exactly what leverage Amalgamated Bank has over Ruger, but presumably Ruger does their business with this bank.

If that’s so, this is what I warned about.  Without capitulating to the gun controllers, gun manufacturers will be drummed out of business because they can’t exchange capital for expansions, retooling, or even the logistical chain or payroll.  We have to do business with banks if you’re part of a corporation.  There is no other choice.

We’re in a civil war.  Realize where you are and what’s happening.  While most of America watches TV sitcoms and wears idiotic football jerseys, be about your business procuring what you need.  And that, quickly.

If you’re a gun manufacturer, you need to remove all avenues of leverage, get out of debt, and cut ties with corporate America.  They hate you.


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