Apocalypse Now: Gun Ownership and Civic Moral Responsibility

Dec 21, 2012 5:00 PM ET

By Marcy Murninghan

The TakeAway: The world may not have ended for us today, but it did for 27 women and children who were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday. That unspeakable tragedy reopens debates over gun ownership, violence, and mental health treatment. One dimension of “ownership”, however, involves not just the flow of guns but the flow of capital that makes gun manufacture possible. It’s time for investors to step up and make sure that they’re fiduciary role does not include investments in killing machines or other holdings that undermine their core values. Rather than restricted to specific issues and certain portions of a portfolio – as was the case during the 1970s and 1980s’ debates over South Africa- and tobacco-related equity investments – the idea here is to view the fiduciary ethic as encompassing all asset classes and all issues. We need anApocalypse Now, a positive approach that unveils the “ethics” of the “fiduciary ethic”, ethics that are nourished by civic moral roots that serve to inform and transform.

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