The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) decided not to divest from Walmart and other retailers that sell guns, but said it would use its financial clout to pressure retailers on their gun policies.
The pension fund said Wednesday it wants to take a high-profile engagement strategy, and said it plans to hire two lobbyists.
CalSTRS’s board said it could reconsider its decision not to divest from Walmart and other retailers that sell guns if its engagement strategy “fails to achieve an acceptable outcome.” The board did not say what outcome it was seeking.
The pension fund invests more than $420 million in retailers, but the majority of the money is invested in Walmart.
Walmart stopped selling assault weapons at its stores in 2015, and recently bump stocks — a device that can allow a gun to fire at speeds that mimic an automatic weapon.
CalSTRS divested from firearms manufacturers following the 2012 mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Wednesday’s decision follows a similar announcement by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which opted in March not to divest from retailers that sell assault rifles, saying that divesting from such companies would do little to reduce gun violence.
California’s Treasurer John Chiang, who is running for governor in next month’s Democratic primary, is leading the push for the state’s pension funds to divest from retailers that sell weapons.