Nuns, activist investors force Ruger to report on gun violence

They have to report to a higher calling.

A group of activist shareholders — including an Oregon-based order of Roman Catholic nuns — successfully passed a resolution requiring gunmaker Sturm Ruger to report on the violence its products create.

Ruger executives resisted the effort despite mounting support from a group of religious-based shareholders.

The company, one of the country’s biggest gunmakers, will submit a report by next February on how waves of mass shootings across the United States hurt the country’s stability.

Devin Kelly used one of Ruger’s AR-15-style assault rifles to kill 26 people inside a Sutherland Springs, Texas church last November — later killing himself in a police pursuit.

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A group of investors that includes the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary order of nuns and Catholic Health Initiatives, a nationwide hospital system, have bought up stocks in Ruger and other gunmakers such as Smith & Wesson’s parent company in recent years in a bid to combat the flow of guns.

Sister Judy Byron, part of the Sisters of the Holy Names, told the Trace the order decided to become more vocal about its board presence after the Feb. 14 high school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, called the vote a “first-of-its-kind victory.”

“The company, unsurprisingly but disappointingly, urged shareholders to oppose this resolution,” she said in a statement. “Shareholders made it clear today that Ruger’s ‘enforce existing laws’ approach is woefully insufficient and out of step with what the company’s owners want.”

The resolution to assess the dangers of mass shootings started in January, according to the Trace, but got more support after 17 people were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Private equity giant BlackRock is reportedly Ruger’s biggest shareholder, and backed the nuns’ resolution, according to Buzzfeed. Some of the country’s top advisory firms also reportedly backed the resolution.

Ruger leadership previously pushed back against the effort, but agreed to comply after more than half its shareholders approved the resolution Wednesday at their annual meeting in Arizona.

“The proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report, that's it, a report,” Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy said. “What the proposal does not and cannot do is force us to change our business.”