Fear & Loading: Shareholders Endorse Another Gun Company Report

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posted on October 1, 2018
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Shareholders approved a resolution that American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson, issue a report by Feb. 8, “… at reasonable expense and excluding proprietary information, on the company's activities related to gun safety measures and mitigation of harm associated with gun products,” during the company’s Sept. 25, 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. A similar measure spearheaded by the same group of activist investors was approved during Ruger’s annual meeting earlier this year.

                             

“Throughout our proxy season, we made known—through many public filings—our position that proposal 4 was bad for our stockholders, our customers, our employees and our company,” according to a joint official statement from Barry Monheit, chairman of the board, and James Debney, president and chief executive officer of American Outdoor Brands. “The proposal was politically motivated and represented a debate that belonged not in our annual meeting and proxy, but in the legislature. The proposal—put forward by a very small group whose sole focus was to drive an anti-firearms agenda at the expense of our company and its stockholders—won by a very slim margin of 52.16% to 47.84% of votes cast. This result makes clear to us that a significant number of our voting stockholders shared our position. We remain committed to continuing our meaningful support of and participation in actions that truly make our communities safer.”

Sister Judy Byron made the proposal during the shareho lder meeting, although the effort was officially filed by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary—a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). She also headlined the Ruger proposal earlier this year.

ICCR, according to its website, is “Currently celebrating our 47th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues.” Ironically, top donors listed in organization’s 2016 annual report (PDF and the last available on line), include some of the world’s largest corporations.

The high priority American Outdoor Brands places on its actions to promote the safe use of firearms is reflected in the prominent, page six listing of those efforts in its 2018 annual report [PDF]. 

 

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