Families of mass shooting victims are joining California State Treasurer John Chiang in calling on the nation's largest public pension fund to stop investing in companies that sell assault weapons and devices that allow guns to fire more rapidly.
Chiang will speak Monday at a board meeting of the California Public Employees' Retirement System alongside family members of people who died in the 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people in San Bernardino and advocates for stricter gun laws. The wife of a high school teacher who died in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, sent a letter supporting Chiang's effort. Chiang, a Democrat, is running for governor.
"Enough is enough," Chiang told The Associated Press in an interview. "You have to go to what moves people, and we know money moves people."
Chiang asked in October, after the Las Vegas mass shooting, for CalPERS and the state's teacher pension fund, known as CalSTRS, to sell its stock in companies that sell "military-style assault weapons" and devices such as bump stocks that help simulate automatic weapons. Monday is his first in-person call for action. California severely restricts the sale and possession of assault-style weapons.
The February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has spurred fresh efforts to put financial pressure on the National Rifle Association and companies that make and sell guns.
"We keep having these mass shootings," said Robert Velasco, whose 27-year-old daughter, Yvette, was killed in San Bernardino. "If we can encourage them to divest in companies, wholesalers and retailers, of these types of weapons it could send a message throughout the country to other institutional pensions to do the same."