Parkland Student David Hogg Calls for Boycott of Vanguard, BlackRock Due to Gun Maker Ties

One of the most prominent student activists to emerge from the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla. high school told his Twitter followers to boycott Malvern, Pa.-based Vanguard Group and New York’s BlackRock — two of the world’s biggest investors in gun manufacturers.

In a series of posts Tuesday afternoon, Hogg noted the two investment giant’s ownership of gun industry stock and urged his 764,000 followers to “make their feelings known” before offering the hashtags #boycottVanguard #boycottBlackRock.

For its part, Vanguard, the world’s biggest mutual fund company and one of the Philadelphia region’s largest employers, noted that 359 out of its 388 funds do not have exposure to the three publicly-traded gun manufacturers — Sturm Ruger, Vista Outdoor and American Outdoor Brands — but those that do are primarily passive indexed products that track an underlying benchmark.

Due to its investment strategy and the fact that it has more than $5 trillion in assets under management, Vanguard often winds up being one of the largest investors in many stocks — including the three aforementioned gun makers.

If an investor desires additional social screens so that his or her personal beliefs are reflected in their investments, Vanguard said it offers the FTSE Social Index Fund, which screens companies based on certain social and environmental criteria and excludes gun manufacturers. Also, U.S. investors looking to screen Vanguard funds for specific holdings can also use this tool on company’s website.

“Vanguard shares many individuals’ concerns about public safety and firearm access and hopes that policymakers take appropriate action to protect Americans from gun violence,” Vanguard said in a statement. “Schools, churches and public spaces should always be safe places for all individuals.”

Vanguard also said it is taking action, meeting with the leaders of gun manufacturers and distributors.

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