Smith & Wesson facing increasing pressure on gun violence risk report
By Christen Smith
Another proxy advising firm recommended Smith & Wesson shareholders support a proposed gun violence risk report, according to regulatory filings published this week.
In a policy voting recommendation sent to parent company American Outdoor Brands Sept. 7, Institutional Shareholder Services expressed support for the report — a proposal backed by faith-based investors — despite repeated public criticism from the gun maker’s top executives.
Smith & Wesson doubled down on those sentiments Monday, discrediting the gun violence statistics cited in the proposal and describing any suggestion shareholders don’t “fully understand the financial and reputational risks involved” in investing in a firearms manufacturer as “naive and disingenuous at best.”
Chief Executive Officer James Debney said the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, the activist group behind the report, knowingly abused the company’s proxy system just to advance a political agenda — and warned fellow investors not to fall for it.
“Unlike a bonafide investor, this proponent purchased just 200 shares, the bare minimum needed under SEC rules to place an item on the proxy with the sole objective to push an anti-firearms agenda, designed to harm our company, disrupt the local sale of our products and destroy stockholder value,” he said during an Aug. 31