U.S. asset manager State Street to press gunmakers on safety efforts

U.S. asset manager State Street Corp said it plans to seek details from gunmakers on how they will support the “safe and responsible use of their products,” adding to pressure on the industry after the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

Other firms, including Bank of America Corp, are also reviewing relations with the weapons industry, as social media and shareholder activism open new fronts in a long-running U.S. debate over firearms.

As a large shareholder in weapons makers such as American Outdoor Brands Corp and Sturm Ruger & Co Inc, Boston-based State Street wields extra clout, including the ability to vote against directors and to back shareholder resolutions on gun safety pending at each company.

“We will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to seek greater transparency from them on the ways that they will support the safe and responsible use of their products,” State Street spokesman Andrew Hopkins said in an emailed statement, sent on Friday evening.

The statement also said State Street will monitor the companies’ lobbying activities.

State Street is joining larger rival BlackRock Inc in putting weapons executives on the spot. On Feb. 22, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said it will speak with gunmakers and distributors “to understand their response” to the Florida shooting.

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