New Jersey Democrats seek to bar gunmakers from pension funds

BOSTON (Reuters) – New Jersey legislators on Thursday said they plan to introduce bills to bar state pension funds from investing in gun manufacturers.

A bill that state Senator Vin Gopal, a Democrat, plans to introduce today would prohibit the state from investing assets of any pension or annuity fund in companies that manufacture firearms or ammunition, according to a statement e-mailed by Senate Democrats.

The move is one of many recent calls for weapons industry restrictions following the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school on Feb 14.

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of the Treasury did not immediately comment on what weapons stocks its pension funds may hold. Filings show the sale of 10,000 shares last month of ammunition maker Olin Corp, and the sale of debt in gunmaker Remington Outdoor Co.

“With this bill we are sending a message that New Jersey is making a conscious decision about the type of companies the state should invest in,” Gopal said in the statement.

Two members of the state’s assembly also plan to introduce the bill in coming weeks, according to the release.

Democrats hold a majority in both houses. A spokesman did not immediately say whether Senate President Stephen Sweeney would support the investment ban.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber and Tim McLaughlin in Boston; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)