Civil Liberties

Urban Push To Divest From Gun Makers Faces Uncertain Outcome

The industry is likely to do just fine without them


One question is whether the gun divestment movement will spread from large, politically liberal cities and a handful of deep-blue states to the rest of the country, major swaths of which are deeply attached to their firearms. On the left, activists will invoke divestment initiatives related to South Africa's former apartheid regime and the tobacco industry. Gun-rights advocates will stress that, unlike government-backed racism and lung-destroying cigarettes, guns have legitimate, constitutionally protected uses. Investment professionals may question whether public pension funds ought to engage in partisan conflict and culture war. We'll have to wait a while to see how all that plays out.

A further question is whether this kind of municipal assault on the gun industry en masse will have an effect opposite from what its proponents intend. Experience from the 1990s—largely forgotten outside of the firearm industry—suggests that gun-control advocates risk unintended consequences.