STURM, RUGER & COMPANY, INC. | Prioritization Public Health Impacts Associated with Products at STURM, RUGER & COMPANY, INC.

Status
AGM passed
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
RGR
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Public health
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Resolved:
Shareholders ask that the board commission and publish a third party report on (1) the link between the public health costs created by the marketing, promotion and sales of Sturm Ruger’s products and its prioritization of financial returns over public welfare and (2) whether such prioritization threatens the returns of diversified shareholders who rely on a productive economy to support their investment portfolios.
Whereas clause
Whereas:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 48,000 deaths attributable to firearms in 2022, the equivalent of 132 deaths every day.1 Over 76,000 people annually are injured by firearms.2 Approximately 30,000 people receive inpatient hospital care annually for firearm injuries; 50,000 visit the emergency room; and total health care system costs alone exceed $1B in initial care3 - not including follow-up care. Compared to other nonfatal injuries, nonfatal firearm injury costs increased by $2,495 per person, per month, in the first year following an injury.4 Overall, survivors experience poorer health outcomes, with more pain diagnoses (41%), psychiatric disorders (51%), and substance use disorders (85%) than peers who have not sustained firearm injuries.4 Gunshot survivors’ relatives experience 12% more psychiatric disorders than their peers.4

During the pandemic, 60M guns were purchased in the U.S., nearly doubling sales when compared to 15-20 years prior.5 Sturm Ruger 2021 firearms sales alone equaled $730M, and the company's profits increased by 73% from 2020 - when the company’s profits tripled.6 Ruger’s CEO celebrated the company’s profits on a November 2023 earnings call, attributing part of the growth to its SFAR (small-frame auto-loading rifle) which was the gun used in a recent mass shooting in Lewiston, ME, that killed 18 and wounded 13.7

Firearm marketing increasingly glorifies weapons that militarize the common consumer.8 Ruger has marketed the SFAR as “Bigger and Stronger Where it Needs to Be.”7 Ruger is currently in litigation over its marketing of weapons used in a shooting in Boulder, Colorado; victims’ families are suing over the marketing of its AR-556 pistol, saying that the “reckless” and “immoral”
marketing contributed to the mass shooting.9 The marketing practices of firearms manufacturers, including Ruger, have also drawn the concern of the U.S. Congress.10 The reputational impacts of the marketing and sales of products that attract both litigation and congressional interest calls into question the company’s ability to deliver long-term value to shareholders.

The cost to the US of gun violence has been estimated at 2.6% of GDP.11 Such systemic costs threaten the diversified portfolios of investors.12 Addressing the costs of gun violence caused by the company’s business practices has the potential to improve the health of our company, our population, our economy, and the diversified portfolios of investors. For these reasons, we urge you to vote “FOR” this proposal.
Supporting statement
1 https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/firearms/fastfact.html#
2 https://www.bradyunited.org/key-statistics#:
3 https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/2023/apr/health-costs-gun-violence-how-us-compares-ot her-countries
4 https://hms.harvard.edu/news/hidden-cost-firearm-injuries
5 https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/3960527-americans-bought-almost-60-million-guns-during-the-pandemic/
6 https://www.nhbr.com/sturm-ruger-reports-another-boom-year-for-its-firearms/
7 https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/mass-shootings-gun-industry-greed-ravaging-america-1234874423/
8 https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/firearms-industry-marketing-mass-shooter/670621/
9 https://apnews.com/article/colorado-supermarket-shooting-lawsuit-gun-maker-bc09ab647f629d3936edde 0de0d64ef5
10 https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/top-gun-ceos-testifying-capitol-hill-wake-mass/story?id=87485548
11 https://everytownresearch.org/report/the-economic-cost-of-gun-violence/?_gl=1*1w2fbml*_ga*OTQwNTIwOTg1LjE3MDEyNzg4NTk.*_ga_LT0FWV3EK3*MTcwMTI3ODg1OS4xLjEuMTcwMTI3ODg5NS4wLjAuMA..#executive-summary
12 https://www.unepfi.org/fileadmin/documents/universal_ownership_full.pdf

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