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Rugers Issues Response to Anti-Gun Shareholder Proposal

An anti-gun proposal was adopted by shareholders and Ruger issues corporate response

A "coalition of religious women and health care networks" had proposed a resolution calling on firearms manufacturer Sturm, Ruger, & Co. to (according to the NY Times):

... produce a report by February that addresses how it tracks violence associated with its firearms, what kind of research it is conducting related to so-called smart gun technology (such as using thumbprint readers, like those used on smartphones) and its assessment of the risks that gun-related crimes pose to the company’s reputation and finances.

Against corporate's recommendation, the resolution was adopted by shareholders at the company's recent Annual Meeting, although more far-reaching proposals (such as cutting ties with the NRA) were rejected.

In response to the passage of the resolution, Ruger corporate issued the following response:

Please understand that Ruger was obligated by applicable law to include a shareholder’s activist resolution with its proxy materials for a shareholder vote. With its passage, the proposal requires Ruger to prepare a report. That’s it. A report. What the proposal does not do … and cannot do … is force us to change our business, which is lawful and constitutionally protected. What it does not do … and cannot do … is force us to adopt misguided principles created by groups who do not own guns, know nothing about our business, and frankly would rather see us out of business. As our CEO explained, “We are Americans who work together to produce rugged, reliable, innovative and affordable firearms for responsible citizens. We are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment not because we make firearms, but because we cherish the rights conferred by it. We understand the importance of those rights and, as importantly, recognize that allowing our constitutionally protected freedoms to be eroded for the sake of political expediency is the wrong approach for our Company, for our industry, for our customers, and for our country. We are arms makers for responsible citizens and I want to assure our long-term shareholders and loyal customers that we have no intention of changing that. Please see Ruger.com/Brand for a video that shows who we are and who will continue to be.

It makes complete sense for Ruger to issue such as response. After all, their customer base consists of people who buy firearms and who overwhelmingly believe in the importance of the Second Amendment. Ruger probably also has a corporate memory of what happened to it in the 1990's leading up to, and following, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and is therefore gun-shy with regards to any insinuation that it is weak on its Second Amendment support.

For those who do not remember the politics surrounding the 1994 ban, here is a short refresher. There was intense debate at the time around the ban, whether it should be adopted, what firearms should be banned, how to determine which firearms were banned. One factor that likely helped its passage, however, was support from firearms manufacturers (a fact that is not lost on today's anti-gun factions). For example, throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s Colt began to manufacture AR-15s with "features" that did not offend the anti-gun crowd: sear blocks in the lower receivers, lack of bayonet lugs, roll marks which included the word "Sporter." They were trying to stave off an impending ban through these measures, but in the end simply reaped the reward of the taint of being a "compromiser" on gun rights (some older gun owners still today hold a grudge against Colt for its actions in this time period).

However, Ruger in the 1990s surpassed Colt in its support for gun restrictions. Bill Ruger, the company founder and president at the time, actively called for and then supported the Assault Weapons Ban. In the end, the law defined "assault weapons" as having two or more "military features," such as a bayonet lug, pistol grip, or flash suppressor. In addition, new magazines holding over 10 rounds were banned. Ban compliant rifle models soon came out which had only one of these "features." For example, you could get an AR-15, but with no bayonet lug and with a compensator rather than a flash suppressor. "Pre-ban" firearms could still be sold, but prices quickly skyrocketed.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Ruger happened to sell firearms at the time that were already ban compliant. Its pistols held 10 rounds or less, and its rifles were either bolt-actions (unaffected by the ban) or the Mini-14 (which, at the time, did not have a pistol group, bayonet lug, or flash suppressor anyway). Thus, the ban had no effect on Ruger, while burdening other competing companies as well as law-abiding citizens. (I think a similar reasoning may be going on over at Dick's Sporting Goods; they are calling for restrictions and bans on firearms they no longer sell. Any ban would only hurt their competitors.)

Coming back to today, this past history is likely the reason that Ruger the company (Bill Ruger died in 2002) is making such a strong case that it is pro-Second Amendment. Firearms owners have long memories and communicate with each other. Anti-gunners may boycott a company for a few months and then grow tired of it, but Second Amendment enthusiasts remember who compromised or caved to pressure for years and decades. It is smart business for Ruger to listen to its customers rather than to activist shareholders who want to repeat 1994 by getting firearms manufacturers to call for and support restrictions on the Second Amendment. Those who believe in the Second Amendment need to thank and support those who are willing to support and defend it.

Yes, I remember that as well. There's still a few people around who are still angry at them for their stance at the time.

They should do the absolute minimum for the report and write it in crayon. It deserves the same seriousness in response as the concept has initially.

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The 1-page report should be made available to "shareholders" ONLY on a web-site. One time which meets the requirements. If the proposal is again passed by the "shareholders" then the 1-page report should be "updated" by changing some wording & the date. Lather-Rinse-Repeat. In fact, I thought all those anti-2nd Amendment "fund managers" had divested all their holdings in firearms makers. If they haven't, then their investors should ask why they still own
votable shares in Ruger.

The Ruger story shows the danger of infringement on the 2nd amendment.. The definition of assault rifle has been changed There support for some gun control, was free advertising for products they made. Attacking the 2nd amendment is attacking all guns. It is doubtful the 2nd amendment will ever be repealed outright, but we can't let it be nickle and storage to to death. If confiscation becomes an issue, storage has to be independent of law enforcement and the courts.

I thought the first line in the corporate response was going to be the question: "why are you even invested in us?"

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