Seattle nun takes on gun manufacturers by buying stock

SEATTLE — A Seattle nun got the attention of the CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.

Sister Judy Byron, an Adrian Dominican nun,  is the program director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment.

The former Catholic schoolteacher and principal is now pushing for gun safety. She said gun manufacturers aren't willing to talk to her group so it started buying stock.

The coalition bought $2,000 worth of stock, enough to be able to propose a resolution to shareholders.

At the Sturm, Ruger & Co. shareholders meeting on May 9 in Prescott, Arizona, shareholders voted on the resolution, Proposal No. 4: Shareholder Proposal on Gun Safety.

There were 10 co-filers on the resolution, all from health care systems and religious communities of women.

"What are you doing to monitor the violent events associated with your products? What are you doing to develop safer guns, and what are you doing to address the financial and reputational risks to your company if you don't do something?" Byron said.

Ruger's Board of Directors wrote a statement encouraging a vote against the proposal.

The shareholders voted and sent a message to the company. The resolution passed by 69%.

"If over half of your shareholders are asking you to do something -- the shareholders own the company -- basically, you need to do it," said Byron.

The company told shareholders it would make a report.

"This proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report," said Ruger CEO Christopher J. Killoy. "That's it, a report. It cannot force us to change our business which is lawful and constitutionally protected."

Byron said she is not trying to take away anyone's right to bear arms.

"What we really want are safe guns. We know we're going to have guns, firearms, in our society, but we want them to be regulated and safe so people are safe and secure," said Byron.

Next, Byron said, the coalition has a resolution that will be voted on in the fall at the shareholder meeting for Outdoor Brands Corporation, which was formerly Smith & Wesson.

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