Drain the NRA, the anti-gun violence group co-founded by Laura Mannino of Highland Park, has notched another success: On May 9, the $225 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement
System (CalSTRS) adopted a gun-control policy developed by John Chiang, the California state treasurer, and promoted by Drain the NRA.
Under the new policy, CalSTRS will pressure national retailers it invests in to stop selling assault-style guns, bump stocks and other gun weaponry that is outlawed in California. If companies refuse to change, CalSTRS will try to replace the companies’ board members with directors who would be more open to change. CalSTRS will also consider divesting from companies that persist in selling firearms and parts that are against the law in California.
When the Boulevard Sentinel profiled Ms. Mannino in its March 2018 issue, Drain the NRA had just risen to national prominence for its work in developing detailed lists of the National Rifle Association’s corporate and financial ties. Consumers and investors who want stronger gun laws can use the lists to identify companies to avoid, and in that way, weaken the NRA’s power to block gun control legislation. The lists – and the idea that weakening the NRA is a path to stronger gun laws – went viral after the mass shooting in February in Parkland, Fla.
So far, 34 companies identified by Drain the NRA have cut their membership-benefit ties to the NRA and six have tightened their sales policies on guns and ammunition. The CalSTRS decision to confront gun sellers may also encourage other public pensions to do the same.
Women Against Gun Violence and the Los Angeles chapter of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence also advocated for the new CalSTRS policy.
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel, and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.