TRENTON – Senator Richard J. Codey today announced plans to introduce legislation requiring the state to disinvest from any companies that manufacture or sell assault-style weapons such as the firearm used in the tragic Connecticut school shooting. The bill would also ban investment in these companies going forward.
“Regardless of where you stand on gun control, there is widespread agreement that military-style weapons have no place in our society. No civilian should own a firearm with the ability to spray high-velocity bullets because, in reality, there is no reasonable purpose to have this kind of weapon,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “While the gun control problem calls for changes in our laws at the federal level, the state cannot be complicit by investing in companies that manufacture or sell military-style weapons to the general public. Our first step should be to disinvest from any companies that we may have in our portfolio that produce or sell these guns but also to ban investments going forward. Sometimes the economic boycotting of companies can have a real impact on these kinds of problems.”
The senator’s proposal follows the Newtown, Conn. massacre of 28 people, 20 of them children ages six and seven. All of the victims died from gunshot wounds and all were shot multiple times, according to reports. The shooter used an AR-15, a semi-automatic weapon that has been described as the civilian version of the military’s M-16 and M-4, which was apparently registered to the shooter’s mother, who was also killed in the rampage.
“Our nation was rocked by the tragic massacre that occurred in Connecticut with a weapon that should never have been legally permitted on our streets,” said Senator Codey. “It is well past time that we had a serious conversation about gun control on the national level. But we should also take a stand here in New Jersey to help curb this problem. We can do that by banning investment of workers pension funds in companies that produce or sell assault weapons.”
Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), who will also sponsor the legislation, said he believed taking this immediate action as a state was the right approach.
“As the father of two young children, I can only imagine the level of pain the families of the victims of the Newtown tragedy must be feeling at this time,” said Senator Sarlo. “We cannot wait to take action as a nation on gun-control. As a state, we also must send a message that these assault-type weapons do not belong on our streets, nor should our state be in the business of supporting companies that make these weapons.”
The proposal would require the Division of Investment within Treasury to divest from any companies the state may have in its pension portfolio that manufactures or sells assault-style weapons and prohibit any investment in these companies in the future. Companies that produce these types of firearms for the military would be exempt.
The bill will be introduced at the next Senate quorum.