A little over a month ago, Jason Irvine received horrible and shocking news. His sister and San Diego resident, Jennifer Topaz-Irvine was one of the 58 people shot and killed at the Las Vegas massacre on October 1st.
On Wednesday, Irvine urged the California teachers pension fund to divest in retail companies selling guns and ammunition.
Irvine told the San Diego Union-Tribune, "I saw with my own eyes and felt with my hands the carnage these weapons inflict."
SUPPORT FROM CHIANG
Jason's efforts are supported by California Gubernatorial candidate and current state Treasurer John Chiang.
Chiang, who sits on the board of both of California's major public pension funds noted during the calSTRS investment committee meeting, "Neither taxpayer funds, nor the pension contributions of any of the teachers we represent, including the three California teachers slain in Las Vegas, should be invested in the purveyors of banned military-style assault weapons."
Chiang is running for governor in 2018. His says his attitude and commitment isn't political, just common sense, "It would be difficult to argue that battlefield assault weapons and aftermarket accessories designed to rain down bullets don’t fall into this category."
CalSTRS is the nation's second largest public pension fund with a portfolio exceeding $215.3-billion. The graph below illustrates the diversity of the holdings:
The CalSTRS Policy and Investment Plan has a section titled The GENERAL INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES. It contains the following note:
Maintain the Trust of the Participants and Public – Manage the investment program in such a manner that will enhance the member and public’s confidence in the CalSTRS Investment Program.
It can be argued that investing in gun companies would not instill the public's confidence in the program, in theory making a cogent argument to divest.
For Jason Irvine, it's an opportunity to fight for change following the death of his sister, and to shed light on just how deep the conversation over gun control and investment goes.