On March 6, 2018, American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) issued a response to a series of business-practice questions posed by BlackRock, one the world’s largest money management firms—with $6.288 trillion in assets on behalf of investors. The response provides insights into the industry’s legal obligations and willingness to aide law enforcement, as well as voluntary safety, outreach and awareness campaigns. It also details AOBC’s commitment to protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
AOBC’s cover letter issues a reminder that, “As you review the contents of this reply, we believe it is important to tell you that we respect the national debate that is currently underway regarding firearms and safety. We share the nation’s grief over the incomprehensible and senseless loss of life at Parkland, Florida, and we share the desire to make our communities safer. Through our membership and work with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, we will continue to support the development of effective solutions that accomplish that objective while protecting the rights of the law-abiding firearm owner.”
AOBC—owner of Smith & Wesson, among others—addresses each question in detail and explains, “We firmly believe that the best way to stop the criminal use of firearms and the violence associated with it, is to enforce the laws that already exist, and to focus stronger efforts on prosecuting those who break them.” The nine-page response concludes, “The solution is not to take a politically motivated action that has an adverse impact on our company, our employees, our industry, our shareholders, the economies we support and, most importantly, the rights of the law abiding citizens that buy our products, but results in no increase in public safety. We must collectively have the courage to ensure any actions are guided by data, by facts, and by what will actually make us safer—not by what is easy, expedient, or reads well in a headline.”Active funds managed by BlackRock total $1.6 trillion, making it the industry’s leader with a wide array of clientele options, including funds with interest in tobacco and adult-beverage companies. At press time, there was no response to multiple e-mails and phone calls inquiring if the firm has ever posed similar questions to the other industries.