Nevada is responding to a recent spate of mass shootings by cutting off taxpayer money from going to companies that manufacture or sell assault weapons.
Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine, a first-term Democrat up for reelection this year, said the decision was long overdue.
“Companies that profit on the manufacture and sale of assault-style weapons present a market risk I’m not willing to take,” said Mr. Conine. “Investments are fundamentally a plan for the future, and it’s time Nevada started investing in a better future where our children aren’t slaughtered in classrooms.”
The divestment will require formal approval by Nevada’s Board of Finance which includes Mr. Conine and Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. If implemented, the state treasury would sell off $89 million from its nearly $50 billion portfolio of public investments.
“The moral risk for investing in these companies is too high and is more than we are willing to bear,” said Mr. Conine.
Divestment is an increasingly popular response to mass shootings among Democrats at the state level. Since 2019, state treasurers in Connecticut and Rhode Island have adopted prohibitions on tax dollars from being used to subsidize gun manufacturers.
The strategy has been most utilized at the local level. In 2016, New York City divested its $59 billion public employee pension fund from not only gun manufacturers but also large retailers that sell guns.
Nevada’s made its move after a wave of mass shootings. Earlier this week, according to authorities, a 45-year-old man upset with his surgeon returned to a Tulsa, Oklahoma, hospital and shot dead the doctor and three other people.
That shooting took place less than a week after an 18-year-old man opened fire in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers.
Less than two weeks earlier, an 18-year-old man motivated by racist hatred opened fire in a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and wounding three others.
President Biden and congressional Democrats have called for a renewed ban on assault weapons in response to the carnage.
“This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights,” Mr. Biden said Thursday in an address to the nation about gun violence. “It’s about protecting children, about protecting families. … It’s about protecting our freedom to go to school, to a grocery store, to a church without being shot and killed.”
Mr. Biden is also urging lawmakers to change liability laws to allow gun manufacturers to be sued for shootings and make gun owners liable for not keeping their firearms locked up.